Congestion on Far East-Europe trade route | DB Group

Congestion on Far East-Europe trade route

22 May 2024

We inform you that starting from January 2024, a challenging scenario is developing for transport services on the Far East-Europe trade route. While demand remains stable and strong, terminal congestion has direct and indirect consequences on various modes of transport.

What is happening?

Geopolitical tensions that have been developing in the Red Sea area have led maritime companies to choose the alternative route via the Cape of Good Hope. The increase in navigation times and delays at European ports have caused an imbalance in the available equipment.
To address the new routing and support longer transit times while respecting the weekly schedules planned by ports, carriers had already increased the number of vessels covering the Asia-Europe route.

However, the situation is currently complex for the following freight modes:

Ocean Transport:

  • The demand for import services is expected to continue growing in the months ahead.
  • The new routing "extended” transit times have further increased due to climate-related events and the need for carriers to ensure the vessels will match port schedules for berthing.
  • Destination port terminals are congested.
  • Loading ports are experiencing an increasing backlog.
  • Empty containers repositioning is challenging, as well as finding equipment at origin.


Rail Transport:

Rail freight from China is experiencing an extraordinary peak season. Operators were forced to revise the departure slots in order to avoid blockages and congestion along the route. In Europe traffic has been rising. Additionally, modernization works on the railway network connecting Asia and Europe are underway, resulting in increased expected transit times.


Air Freight:

The demand for air freight services from the Far East to Europe remains robust, and no rate decreases are expected. Furthermore, combined services like Sea&Air suffer from the congestion of maritime terminals (such as the port of Jebel Ali in Dubai and the port of Colombo in Sri Lanka).


Despite many companies have been booking their spaces in advance, carriers are currently struggling to meet all the received requests.
Due to high demand and a lack of available space, price increases are expected on the Far East - Europe route.

D.B. Group team continues to closely monitor the situation with to minimize inconveniences caused by potential delays and provide timely information. Our experts are always available to find the most efficient transport solution based on the specific needs of each brand.

We will provide further updates as soon as they become available.

The D.B. Group Team


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