Daniel du Plo0y (Head of Warehousing) | 01 September 2021

With the pandemic spreading throughout the world in early 2020, many countries implemented strict lockdowns with the aim to prevent the spread. This, in short, also meant that most economic activity and production came to a standstill. The immediate result of this was that large numbers of containers were stockpiled at ports and in turn, shipping lines globally reduced the number of container vessels on the busy shipping corridors to minimise the financial impact of operating costs.

Specific to sub-Saharan Africa, the most immediate impact from the container imbalance is the increase in ocean freight. The main ports for metal exports from the DRC and Zambia (Dar es Salaam, Walvis Bay, Beira and Durban) have all been impacted in some way by the shortages.

Walvis Bay has seen vessel operators cancel callings due to inefficiencies experienced further up the west coast of Africa, Beira has seen increased dwell times in outer anchorage and Durban, in addition to the shortage, have been impacted by local riots in July as well as cyber-attacks. Shipping rates to China have seen as much as a 150% increase in some cases out of Durban. Diverting cargo to different ports on short notice has never been more valuable for traders and inland logistics companies.

At Alistair Group, our motto of making our clients business run better has given us the freedom to explore all options available to us without being limited to one corridor, shipping line or facility.

We are completely transparent in our approach to provide solutions to our clients in terms of urgency and price. This type of “Out of the box” thinking is required in difficult times. Alistair Group has been able to curb the container shortage problem being faced in our industry, by offering the following solutions:

                • – Excluding Durban, South Africa has 7 additional commercial seaports along its coast.
                • – Viability of alternative ports and cost comparisons are shared with our clients to make the best decision for their business.
                • – We offer our clients favourable storage terms
                • – Reducing inland transit times
                • – A focus on smaller, fast-moving shipments, direct packed

Please get in touch to see where we can make a difference to your business.