Supply chain woes to persist as ‘quick fix’ for global port congestion unlikely – analysts

Caroline Murray


VIENNA (ICIS)–The likelihood of land and sea supply chain difficulties ending anytime soon is low, delegates and speakers at the ICIS European Polymers Conference said on Monday.

The situation is “frantic” with global port congestion, and operational costs remain high, said Guenther Eberhard, senior and managing partner at DistriConsult, speaking to delegates at the conference.

“There is no quick fix,” added Eberhard.

Recent demurrage charges amounted to €3,500/tonne per day, according to a trader speaking on the sidelines of the conference.

The market is dealing with unreliable deep-sea import deliveries, only to then face land transport difficulties once the imports arrive.

“It depends on the origin of the shipping line, but delays are amounting to three-to-four weeks,” a distributor said.

Most delays have come off their peak, but still have an impact on markets.

Once the ships arrive, finding the trucks then becomes the problem: there are simply not enough truck drivers for the chain to run smoothly.

The lack of containers has resulted in a preference for break bulk, but the organisation is laborious, the distributor said.

Some buyers have been able to buy smaller volumes such as 500 tonnes, due to them combining their volumes with other customers.

Break bulk comes with considerable risks, not least loss of product and contamination.

The continued high sea and land freight costs and problems therein, are just part of the rising production costs, and problems facing raw materials and energy.

The ICIS European Polymers Conference runs in Vienna on 9-10 May and is the first in-person ICIS conference for 27 months. It brings together the events PET Value Chain, World Polyolefins, and European Recycling. Read the agenda here.


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