Posted on January 18, 2022
Ships seeking to avoid Covid-induced delays in China are heading to Shanghai, causing growing congestion at the world’s biggest container port.
Shipping lines are making the switch to avoid delays near Ningbo, which suspended some trucking services near that port after a Covid-19 outbreak, according to freight forwarders and experts. Ships are also being rerouted to Xiamen in the south, according to shipping data from Bloomberg.
These diversions add to the new wave of congestion facing Chinese ports as a growing number of cities deal with virus outbreaks. Strict testing of workers and truckers ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of this month is further straining already strained supply chains as the pandemic enters its third year.
In the country’s tech hub of Shenzhen in the south, testing of residents and truckers to contain an outbreak means a queue of ships has formed at the port. This has caused the Shekou terminal to start restricting the acceptance of goods, which means that from Friday full containers can only be transported by truck three days before the ships are expected to arrive, said Tuesday. the terminal operator.
Meanwhile, the city of Tianjin in northern China has ordered workers to take a half-day break for Covid testing as officials try to contain the spread of the omicron variant. Trucking capacity is estimated at half normal levels and drivers must be tested daily before entering the port, said Alex Hersham, CEO of digital freight forwarder Zencargo.
This outbreak has now spread to the port city of Dalian, with two people who traveled there from Tianjin confirmed to have omitted.
The influx of ships in Shanghai has delayed the sailing schedules of container ships by about a week, freight forwarders said. Those delays could then trickle down to already lagging gateways in the United States and Europe, they said. Ships could soon start skipping Chinese ports due to a lack of options, according to Zencargo’s Hersham.
“The port congestion issue will continue to impact resupply cycles this quarter, alongside the omicron breakout and impending Chinese New Year shutdowns in China,” said Josh Brazil, Vice President supply chain information from logistics intelligence firm project44.