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Sreelakshmi H K
June 6, 2024

Singapore Port Congestion: Growing Delays amidst Singapore Port's Waiting Container Vessels Surge

Our data shows that although the number of container vessels berthed each day has remained stable, the number of waiting vessels has been increasing.

Singapore Port, the second-largest container port globally, is facing significant congestion. Berthing delays have extended up to seven days, with over 450,000 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) waiting to dock by the end of May. Normally, container vessels experience a maximum half-day wait for berthing, but now they are waiting up to a week. Currently, around 380,000 TEU of container vessels are delayed, down from 450,000 TEU the previous week.

Latest Updates on Singapore Port Congestion

  • According to the global port congestion indicator, 6.8% of the global fleet is currently affected.
  • PSA Singapore is addressing the severe port congestion by reactivating old berths at Keppel Terminal.
  • The congestion has severely disrupted vessel schedules, caused equipment shortages, lengthened transit times, and increased freight rates. The situation can intensify in the coming weeks with the peak shipping season approaching.
  • Some carriers are skipping calls to Singapore and Port Klang in Malaysia, leading to increased volumes at downstream ports and vessel bunching.
  • Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has started using Indian ports for transhipment due to congestion in Singapore and Colombo.
  • Other Asian ports such as Shanghai, Qingdao, and Port Klang are also experiencing congestion.

Data from Our Platform

Our platform data provides a clear illustration of the congestion issue at Singapore Port:

1. The Sum of Daily Waiting Hours by All Container Vessels: This first chart indicates a distinct upward trend in the total daily waiting hours for all container vessels. This trend highlights the growing delays and the increasing congestion over time.

Upward trend in the total daily waiting hours for all container vessels (Data source: Portcast)

2. Daily Number of Waiting Container Vessels vs. Number of Vessels Berthed: This second chart compares the daily number of waiting container vessels with the number of vessels that berthed on the same day. It shows that while the number of container vessels that berthed each day has remained stable, the number of waiting vessels has been on the rise. This discrepancy underscores the port's struggle to keep up with the influx of arriving vessels.

The number of waiting container vessels has been on the rise (Data source: Portcast)

Reasons for the Latest Congestion at Singapore Port

This year, congestion at Singapore Port is primarily caused by ships returning to Asia off-schedule after longer voyages around the African Cape due to the Red Sea crisis and missed weekly sailings.

The diversions have caused ships to arrive in Asia unpredictably, exacerbating congestion at Singapore’s port. Carriers are grappling with a shortage of tonnage to handle the extended transit times due to the Red Sea diversions, leading to significant delays.

Furthermore, the recent US tariff hike on $18 billion worth of Chinese goods, including electric vehicles, steel, and batteries, has triggered a shipping surge. Chinese exporters are hastening to ship their products before the deadline, intensifying the situation at key transit ports like Singapore.

At Portcast, we are committed to closely monitoring the situation and providing timely updates. We suggest utilizing our port congestion tracker, granting you complimentary access to 10 ports and other additional resources.

If you have any further questions or need help in monitoring the port congestion situation, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.


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