The logistics sector in Greece is still under pressure due to the disorganization of maritime trade in recent months.

The focus is of course on the ports, but the prolonged period of crisis is extending the problems to all links in the supply chain (domino effect).

As the president of the International Maritime Union (IMU), Antonis Venieris, tells Capital, around 85-90% of mother ships, the large container ships, arrive at Piraeus off schedule, so that the berth window, the agreed window for their service, is not respected.

It should be noted here that DNE institutionally represents Greek brokerage companies for international shipping lines, cruise ships and ocean-going vessels.

According to Mr Venieris, this situation applies to almost all sea routes, as various factors, such as weather conditions (see hurricane in Asia) and of course the pandemic, create delays in the servicing of ships worldwide.

Thus, in one way or another, all ports serving containerships are affected, and recently there has also been increased congestion in the dry bulk sector.

In fact, the inconsistency between arrivals and departures from and to Asia and the fact that Greece is an importing – basically – country and imports many more containers than it exports resulted in the past few days in Piraeus reaching its “limits”, as several empty containers were accumulated and the free space for the loaded “boxes” was reduced.

However, the problem has been overcome and the empty “boxes” have set sail for Asia, where there is demand.

It is noted that despite the difficult conditions, Piraeus managed to serve the containerships without significant delays.

This resilience and the maintenance to a satisfactory degree so far of the container throughput rate, despite the ongoing problems, create optimism among the port’s people for a positive trajectory by the end of the year and an improved performance, compared to 2020.

“Riddle” regularity

Asked about the timing of the restoration of the ships’ schedules, Venieris believes it is difficult to determine, due to the many unpredictable factors and unforeseen incidents, such as the one in Suez last March.

However, various analysts also link the congestion internationally to the lack of staff and infrastructure on the mainland – drivers, warehouses – which means that cargoes arriving at ports are not transhipped in time and free space is filled up.

In any case, Mr Venieris says that all liner companies have put in place plans to deal with the situation, such as, for example, not calling at certain ports in Asia, where the main congestion problems are located. This shortens journey times and gradually restores normality to the route.

A turning point, according to him, may be the Chinese New Year (February 2022), when there is traditionally a downturn in cargo throughput.


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