Supply Chain Council of European Union |

Container volumes at Singapore port hit 11-year high in 2021, up 1.6% on year


Strong demand pushes annual volumes higher

December throughput down on holiday slowdown

Congestion, delays continue

Container volumes at Singapore port were recorded at 37.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units in 2021, the highest annual volumes in the port authority database, starting in 2011.

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Volumes rose 1.6% year on year, according to preliminary data released by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore on Jan. 13. However, container throughput at the port in December declined by 2.2% year on year.

A freight forwarder based in the country said the situation at the port “is not improving; delays and congestion still continue.

“Turnover time remains high, but the only change is that clients have gotten better at planning their shipments. So, they don’t mind the wait and don’t complain as much as before.”

As port operations across Asia continue to suffer amid rising coronavirus infections and logistical issues, the impact is being seen at major transshipment ports like Singapore, sources said.

Singapore has always been proactive in preparing the right resources to anticipate any surge in volumes, an exporter based in Singapore said. “There will still be limitations to the number of resources that you can pour in to overcome any potential congestion issues. But our ports are still quite effective due to years of efforts to automate and optimize it.”

According to MPA data, while container volumes at the port were the highest since 2011, the number of container vessel arrivals at the port further dipped to 13,391 in 2021, down from 15,613 in 2020, and the lowest since 2011 (19,290).

“Blank sailings by carriers have added to the disruptions due to COVID infections and so far, there is no relief in sight,” a source based in Southeast Asia said.

Platts Container Rate 25 — Southeast Asia to East Coast North America — was assessed at $11,000/FEU on Jan. 13, and PCR 23 — Southeast Asia to West Coast North America — was assessed at $10,000/FEU.

For all-inclusive bookings, Platts heard premium rates at $18,000-$19,000/FEU for Southeast Asia to East Coast North America and between $15,000-$18,000/FEU for the West Coast.

Demand remains high and any relief to rates or equipment availability is unlikely even after the Chinese New Year, the freight forwarder based in Singapore said.

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