Singapore-based ocean carrier APL said it is struggling to move containers to and from the Port of Dammam, Saudi Arabia, because of terminal congestion and yard delays.
“The terminal yard is severely congested impacting inbound customs clearance process as positioning of containers for customs inspections takes 7 to 14 days. Further, there is no space in the terminal for stacking of export containers,” APL said.
The carrier attributed the backlog to a massive surge in import arrivals during Ramadan and the Eid al Fitr festivities last month.
APL, the liner arm of Neptune Orient Lines, said shippers are also facing a severe shortage of trucks to move their export containers into the terminal, as vehicles have been diverted for evacuating import units. “Truck turnaround times average between two to six hours gate-in to gate-out,” it said.
The carrier said low productivity and increased port stays are leading to “bunching of ships at the anchorage.”
“The current situation indicates congestion is not likely to ease until the end of October,” APL said.
The carrier in August issued a surcharge notice on all cargo shipped to and from ports in Saudi Arabia, charging $80 per 20-foot, $125 per 40-foot and $165 per 45-foot dry container, and $130 per 20-foot and $170 per 40-foot refrigerated box.