Waiting time for container ships longest in the North Sea

At the moment, congestion of container ships is most severe in the North Sea. In August, just over 2% of the world’s freight capacity was idle here. While congestion is decreasing in Asia and the US, ship congestion is increasing in Europe. This is partly due to earlier strikes in the port of Felixstowe and several German seaports.

The figures come from a study by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. The congestion in the North Sea has increased as a result of the reduction in congestion around Shanghai and Zhejiang. Some 1.9% of global capacity is currently tied up in that region, compared to 3.6% in July. Container shipping congestion was at a very high level in August. According to the institute, about 11% of the goods shipped in containers are currently stuck at sea.

On the west coast of America, waiting times have normalised again. However, there are now problems on the east coast of America, according to the analysis of the position data of the ships. Especially the queues at the port of Savannah in Georgia are getting longer.


Previous strikes in Felixstowe and German ports are partly responsible for the congestion. The eight-day strike that ended last week increased delays for container shipments through Felixstowe by a factor of 2.5 to 14.5 days. Before the strike, UK ports’ waiting times were on a par with the averages of other major European competitions. In August, these waiting times were around six days.