Group foresees ‘negative trajectory’ in barge handling going forward.
DP World Inland is to introduce a barge congestion surcharge at the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp.
In a statement, the inland shipping unit said that the recent challenges of wait times at the two ports has had an adverse impact on its barge handling capability.
“The waiting times and distortions in barge handling at these ports have made planning very challenging for DP World Inland Group. The company has engaged with all stakeholders to try and find a workable permanent solution but to date this turned out as impossible to be realised.
“After performing extensive trials to help reduce this adverse impact faced by DP World Inland at these ports, the results have not seen a marked improvement and we foresee a negative trajectory in barge handling going forward.”
The statement continued: “DP World Inland will be introducing a surcharge per container for barge transports from and to the Ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam. This surcharge will help to respond to the impact of this current volatility of barge handling key cost areas at these ports. For over six months DP World Logistics Europe has absorbed all these costs.”
The statement did not disclose when the surcharge will take effect nor the rate per TEU it will be levied at.
Commenting in the statement on the surcharge, Martin Neese, managing director of DP World Inland, said:
“After robustly reviewing the situation and after our efforts for more than half a year to find countermeasures, we now have to state that a congestion surcharge is the only realistic way forward. This surcharge will enable us to keep prices as low as possible while enabling us to react to future changes.”
Asked by Lloyd’s Loading List to provide details on when the surcharge will take effect and rate the rate per TEU it will be levied at, Nesse replied:
“We will introduce the congestion surcharge as of next Monday, April 16, until further notice. On the amount we charge, we can only say that it is a cost per container, not per TEU, but we do not talk on conditions in public.”
Last month, intermodal operator Contargo told Lloyd’s Loading List that it was maintaining a congestion surcharge on barge services to and from the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp but was ready to suspend it if short-term measures to reduce the delays prove successful.
It introduced the container levy in July 2017, but the Rhenus Logistics-owned firm said waiting times for its barges at the two box ports continued to vary from12 to 120 hours.
At a container barge conference held in Rotterdam last month, a working group set up to investigate the congestion identified four main causes for the delays, Contargo highlighted. They include the impact of significantly larger ocean-going vessels that have resulted in ever-bigger handling slots (call sizes) and thus an increased demand for handling at peak times and rise in the proportion of feeder ships at deep-sea terminals.
Among measures to be introduced in the short-term to combat the congestion is an improvement in the Rotterdam port community’s IT system, Portbase, which serves as a hub for the co-ordination and exchange information between the different users of the Dutch gateway. Efforts are also being made to achieve better transparency on the performance of the whole transport chain by the definition of KPIs.
Contargo said it would assess whether these short-term measures have led to a reduction in waiting times and if so, the congestion surcharge would be suspended.
It added that a longer-term measure at Rotterdam lay in the implementation of the Nextlogic digital solution, a joint initiative of port users that focuses on achieving more-efficient handling of inland container shipping.
The first services of Nextlogic are planned to be available from mid-2018 with provision made for the IT system to have “cross-terminal control of the container flows in the port.”