Freight Volumes Rise As Major Operator Tips Industry Squeeze To Loosen

The last couple of years have been a tough time for the freight sector with Brexit, Covid, the Ever Given incident and a lack of capacity in key areas such as the supply of containers. However, it appears the situation is now improving significantly.

Firstly, the latest DFDS monthly report has stated that ferry freight volumes in January were 13.8 per cent higher than the equivalent month in 2021, although net adjustments for structural route changes would adjust this downwards to 13.1 per cent.

Key factors in the increase were upturns in volume in freight travelling to and from the UK and on Mediterranean routes.

The UK figures reflect the fact that January 2021 was impacted by Brexit, but this remains a sign that, following the frictional difficulties of that time, matters have settled down. This may be seen as good news by those using port agency services in Hull.

If news that the effects of Brexit have been smoothed out are highly encouraging, so too may be a reduction in shipping delays, something Hapag-Lloyd is optimistically predicting.

Speaking to reporters, chief executive Rolf Habben Jansen noted that a key problem of late has been the high levels of Covid infections at ports, reducing the supply of labour to help move goods on and off ships. This has been a particular problem in the US, where queues of ships have built up off the west coast.

He said: “As soon as we have the current Omicron wave behind us, most people should be able to go to work again.”

Indeed, just as the world as a whole hopes the milder but more spreadable Omicron wave may pass soon and leave many parts of the world in a post-pandemic situation with little disruption, so it may be that such a more favourable situation could see the factors currently impacting the global freight industry melting away.