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Port congestion to be low during 2023 predicts Drewry

In a good news to shippers  who are worried over the prospect of global recession, pre-berth waiting times in leading ports showed clear signs of improvement towards the end of 2022 despite, increasing disruption due to transport sector strikes in United States and United Kingdom, and this trend is expected to continue through 2023.

After more than two years of widespread Port Congestion, We are beginning to see signs of improvement, according to the latest findings from Drewry’s Ports and Terminals Insight.

Globally, pre-berth waiting time remained significantly above pre-pandemic levels through 2020-22.

In 2019, waiting time accounted for just over 17 per cent of the total port time, but in both 2021 and 2022 pre-berth waiting had increased to more than 25 per cent of the total port time.

There were clear signs of improvement in 2022, despite rising levels of disruption associated with dock labor and other transport sector strikes. But despite this progress, pre-berth waiting time remains elevated above pre-pandemic levels, leaving much work to do.

By the fourth quarter of 2022, it was only the North America and Oceania regions where pre-berth waiting remained materially (10 per cent) above 2019 levels. In contrast, pre-berth waiting time in Europe was 16.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 22, just 1.2 per cent above the 2019 average of 15.4 per cent.

While some of the improvement across our African port sample can be attributed to higher calls following the expansion of capacity at Tanger Med, there has been marked improvement at many other ports across the region.

Drewry expects port waiting time and congestion to return to pre-pandemic levels over the course of 2023, thanks to reduced cargo demand, due to lower economic growth combined with a resumption of more normal seasonality. Signs of the latter are clearly evident in the first few weeks of the year which heralds more predictable times, though continued use of blanked sailings will add to average berth times.

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