CAPACITY shortages and service disruptions created challenges for the entire breakbulk industry in 2022, according to Wallenius Wilhelmsen.

The shipping company said the industry experienced a misalignment between supply and demand as well as a peak in demand for high and heavy equipment.

Magnus Ödling, vice president Global Industrial Account Development at Wallenius Wilhelmsen, said in a statement the company recognises the impact service quality has had on its customers.

“We go to work every day to provide the best possible services in the breakbulk shipping industry, so this has been tough,” he said.

“On the other side, 2022 has been a record year for Wallenius Wilhelmsen in terms of breakbulk performance, which we should also be proud of.

“In brief, 2022 was a year of mixed feelings. We have never seen the extent of misalignment between supply and demand across the sector before; it has hampered our ability to support our customers fully.”

Wallenius Wilhelmsen estimates its own capacity has was reduced more than 10% compared to a normal year.

It highlighted labour shortages, geopolitical tensions, over-saturation in ports and equipment shortages as the causes of major disruptions, which have directly impacted the availability of global capacity.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen said it was “forced to make difficult decisions” to improve the situation, including halting the acceptance of spot bookings in the fourth-quarter and reducing Asia-North Europe exports during the same period.

The company said it has also prioritised repositioning empty equipment over well-paying cargo to address the equipment shortage.

“We have worked hard to mitigate the disruptions and continue to provide the best possible service to our customers,” Mr Ödling said.

“This has included prioritisations that has impacted both our customers as well as our own revenues.”

On a more positive note, Wallenius Wilhelmsen reported developments in cargo quality performance, with a 0.02% damage ratio.

Mr Ödling said described the result as “exceptional”.

“It is particularly impressive given the challenges faced this year,” he said.

“We are proud of the focus on safety and quality that is at the heart of everything we do at Wallenius Wilhelmsen.”

Looking ahead, Mr Ödling said he is cautiously optimistic and believes many of the segments the company services will remain relatively strong.

“The company will also strengthen its team with more experts in the first quarter of the year,” he said.

“Breakbulk remains a strategic priority for the company.”