Ports in the Black Sea have dealt with a lot over the last few years. From the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict to an unexpected freeze in the Black Sea, many ports and shipping lines have had to jump through unexpected hoops. The most recent was heavy fog in the Bosporus Strait, which leads past Istanbul and gives the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas access to the Black Sea. What happens when local events like this delay shipping routes? We’ll look at shipping in the Black Sea to illustrate this for you.
In this case, heavy fog for a day in April 2018 impacted far fewer ships than these other incidents. About 75 ships were blocked because of the fog. Ships still rely on a great deal of visual information, especially when navigating straits. These are sometimes narrow connections filled with obstructions, bridges, and other ships.
While this shutdown wasn’t severe, earlier in April 2018, heavy fog had impacted schedules even worse. It took four days to get schedules back to normal.
The first thing to understand is that this impacts local shipping and international shipping differently. International shipping is often prioritized, as many ports and jobs rely upon it. Local shipping can be delayed or re-routed with fewer setbacks, economic loss, or long-term risk. For straits and canals where international shipping contributes directly to the economy, international shipping will always see favor over local barge schedules.
What About Larger Delays?
In the event of a much larger delay, such as occurred during the excessive freezing of the Black Sea a few years ago, logistics partners like ourselves will look for alternate routes. It makes no sense to leave cargo sitting there for days on end. This would lose everyone money – shipping lines, crews, logistics partners, and your business. A good logistics partner always has a Plan B ready to go for every stage of transporting. They’re very rarely needed, but it’s still part of our responsibility to have them in place.
This helps keep your business’s supply lines and transport chains moving, even when an event requires one piece of a transport chain is swapped out for another. It can be a headache for your business when you panic about goods halfway around the world becoming stranded. One of the biggest advantages of working with a logistics partner is that you never have that headache, because there’s always another way that we can make work.