Today sees the start of a 48-hour strike in Germany, following the breakdown of wage negotiations, which is likely to have impact across the congested North European ports.

More than 12,000 port workers are expected to join the action to halt operations at six German container ports today, including Hamburg and Bremerhaven.

This is the third industrial action in what has become an increasingly bitter dispute, but this becomes the most significant, being the longest German port strike for the past 40 years.

Operations at ports were being stopped this morning and this is set to continue until 06:00 hours on Saturday 16th July.

The action will undoubtedly add more pressure to the port congestion issues that have already become critical in North European ports.

These ports have been hindered in their recovery since the height of the pandemic with issues such as, the huge build up of empty containers and frustrated export boxes following blanked sailings, blocked Russia bound containers taking up long-term space, and transhipment demands from carriers trying to reduce their port calls.

On some Asian schedules, services are no longer calling in the UK and cargo is transhipped over European ports. While this may save carrier’s time, the knock on effect is that all of these containers have to be handled twice, once by the port on the continent and again by the UK port.

Westbound are continuing to watch the situation closely and will update on any significant developments.

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