Container shipping lines claim delays at Hong Kong tied to dockworker strikes at facilities operated by HIT are declining, but many carriers continue to reroute cargo to rival ports and terminals.
One source of a leading container ship alliance said the average delay at Hongkong International Terminals for mainline calls has now fallen to 31 hours, with feeder connectivity delays running to three days. Services via HIT’s rival operator Modern Terminals are unaffected.
“To minimize delay, some of the vessels have arranged to berth at MTL when berthing windows are available,” he said. “Some vessels have omitted Hong Kong calls, and import shipments have to be discharged at Shenzhen ports — Dachan Bay, Shekou and Chiwan — or Singapore.”
A spokesman for Japanese line MOL told the JOC that the strike, now in its 15th day, continues to cause delays for shipments in and out of Hong Kong, but MOL had not suffered any delays as long as seven days.
“While the terminal continues to operate, the pickets are impacting the crane and yard efficiencies, and therefore the ability to maintain ship schedules. Some customers may experience inconveniences.
“However, MOL is actively involved in contingency planning throughout the organization to ensure we keep our vessels on time and our customers’ cargo moving.”
Internal working groups at MOL are meeting twice daily to evaluate the situation and minimize the impact on customers. Broadcasts by MOL are also being aired twice a day, providing updates on schedule and contingency arrangements so customers can plan cargo routing.
“Our internal planning has enabled us to adjust schedules of the vessels, amend berth schedules at the terminal or even divert vessels to other ports to minimize the impact on customers,” he said.
Employers and dockworkers resumed talks today in a bid to resolve the dispute.
Contact Mike King at email@example.com.