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Ocean lead times from China improving

The world’s biggest trade lanes carry goods from Asia to Europe and the US, and the time it takes to leave the exporter in Asia to the time it is collected from the destination port reached all time highs earlier this year. But significant improvements in lead times could be a massive opportunity for shippers.

Weaker demand for container shipping is reducing the volume of boxes on each vessel, which is a significant factor in helping to improve the bottleneck problems that have plagued supply chains for two years. With fewer boxes moving, it is reducing pressure on ports, trucks and internal distribution centres, which is allowing the congestion to be gradually eased.

Asia to Europe delivery times spiked at 122 days, in early spring this year. The latest data shows that the lead time from Asia is now down to 85 days, which is an improvement of more than a month and means that inventory and cashflow is available much quicker.

The recovery of European delivery times were restrained in August/September in part due to continued port strikes, but this has changed and delivery times have been improving markedly in recent weeks. Pre-pandemic lead times rarely exceeded 55 days, so well over half of the problem has been resolved.

Asia to US delivery times have improved from 112 days, in early 2022, to 81 days, which is less than the European trade lane, due to more significant port and inland transport disruption. It is also further from its pre-pandemic normality of around 45 days.

We work closely with our network partners in China and across Asia to manage vendor relationships and track purchase orders, so that our customers know exactly what is happening and can expedite upcoming shipments, for the fastest lead times.

To discuss your sea freight requirements, or to discover the value that PSP Worldwide would bring to your supply chain EMAIL our managing director, Colin Redman, to start a conversation.