Congestion surcharges introduced at Rotterdam and Antwerp


Congestion is reportedly continuing at key European container ports Rotterdam and Antwerp, causing lines to introduce congestion surcharges for barge and feeder services.

Forwarding sources have highlighted for some months that certain congestion issues have been affecting terminals at Antwerp and Rotterdam − particularly with regard to barge services, where there have apparently been reliability issues since the introduction of new container shipping alliances in April. Last-minute decisions by deep-sea lines to appoint the terminals for the new alliances had led to substantial delays, forwarders have reported, but the problems have apparently continued − in part due to higher peaks in traffic caused by increased vessel sizes.

European container line Hapag-Lloyd last Friday informed customers that its operations in Rotterdam and Antwerp were “being affected beyond normal conditions”. With the terminals “congested and only operating with slowed productivity”, Hapag-Lloyd said it was implementing a €25 per container congestion surcharge with immediate effect for all cargo arriving or departing to or from Rotterdam using feeder services; and for all cargo arriving or departing to or from Rotterdam and Antwerp using barge services.

“For FMC related trades, the effective date will be 12 August 12,” the line added. “For shipments originating in China to Antwerp effective date will be 1 September.”

Meanwhile, European intermodal operator Contargo has also introduced a congestion surcharge for Antwerp and Rotterdam of €19.50 per container, effective 14 July. It said the surcharge applies “irrespective of the navigational area of the Rhine for all loads and terminals in the seaports of Antwerp and Rotterdam until 31 August”.

Earlier this month, Contargo reported that its barges in the western European seaports of Antwerp and Rotterdam were “still faced with slow processing, with maximum waiting times of up to 120 hours”.