Maersk Line has started taking bookings again for cargo from North Europe to Asia following a near month-long suspension.
The carrier originally said it would take until early May to clear up what it called the unprecedented backlog of containers at European container terminals that forced it to halt bookings on March 23.
European exporters booking cargo on Maersk ships face higher freight costs and longer transit times than before the suspension. Maersk will seek to implement a general rate increase of $300 per 20-foot equivalent unit on May 1.
The carrier on May 1 also will introduce super-slow-steaming on five Europe-Asia loops, extending the transit time by seven days. An additional vessel will be added to each loop, helping to reduce capacity on the Asia-Europe route.
Maersk attributed the cargo backlog in northern Europe to consecutive vessel cancellations following the Chinese New Year vacation, which reduced capacity on the backhaul leg from Europe at a time of growing demand.
The sudden suspension prompted several rival carriers to levy emergency surcharges for Europe-Asia shipments as well as “no show” penalties. Other carriers also stopped taking bookings, Maersk said.
Demand has continued to grow strongly on eastbound sailings to Asia despite consecutive general rate increases in February, March and April, the carrier said.
Contact Bruce Barnard at firstname.lastname@example.org.