22 February 2023

Container Unpacking Delays

A quick message to all our amazing customers who may have FCL inwards goods that have arrived or will arrive soon. We are sure most would have read about the delays at the ports, over the last few of months, and it would seem going forward we are also having major issues with congestion at empty container parks.

For those of you not 100% aware of the issues or need more details of exactly what is happening with all unpack yards please see the below explanation.

Currently there is a massively disproportionate volume of empty containers in Auckland. This means that the empty container yards which work for the shipping lines are full or in some cases overfill, which is causing them to shut and therefore not accept MT containers.  The current wait times seem to be anywhere from a week to two weeks to get a space.

So that means that the cartage companies can’t pick up the empty containers out of the depots (such as DSL) that unpack them, without having somewhere to take them, because obviously they can’t stay onboard the trucks.

Some cartage companies have yards they can hub them back too, but this incurs costs, that end up getting passed back on to you the end customer. After all it is not the FCL cartage companies’ fault that the de-hire depots are full. Yes, it costs extra if the cartage company does hub the boxes somewhere, however the alternative is even worse, because it means that they don’t collect the containers from the people who unpack them. The roll-on effect of that is that no more full containers can be received by the unpacking depots.

This causes further costs and delays in getting what may be urgently needed stock in. So, your cargo is delayed, and to add insult to injury you will also be hit with huge demurrage and detention costs as well.

We as a company who unpacks containers on behalf of our customers are being pushed into an awful position. We are trying to help all our customers, by devanning as many boxes as we can each day, however unless the empty ones are removed each night, or in a timely manner, we can’t get more full ones in to help either yourselves, or other customers with the urgent unpacks that are required. It is a vicious circle, and we are all left just going around and around every day, for weeks and weeks, with no certainty of the situation being fixed.

And we all end up paying a price. Please put pressure on your shipping lines to not only find a solution to this problem, but also to stop charging Detention on containers that everyone is trying to return but the depots those same lines choose to contract too, are full, and won’t accept bookings. The shipping lines are the only ones who can fix the problem.

Please be patient with our inwards team as they are trying to get the containers moved around so that we can get your freight processed as urgently as we can. I suppose this is just another link in the supply chain crisis we are all facing!

John Widdows