Ship queues lengthen at major Chinese ports as Covid cases escalate

Source: Splash247
Date: 15th March 2022

The number of Covid-19 cases continues to accelerate across China leading to more lockdowns, greater stock market volatility at the nation’s bourses, and reduced factory output.

On Tuesday authorities in Langfang city which borders the capital Beijing, as well as Dongguan in the southern province of Guangdong, also imposed immediate seven-day lockdowns joining the likes of Shenzhen city and the entire province of Jilin in complete lockdown in keeping with the government’s strict zero-Covid policy.

Covid cases doubled in the past 24 hours across the nation with plenty of attention turning to Shanghai where 106 flights have been diverted, children are back to online schooling and some lighter lockdown measures are in place.

In Shenzhen the ports are still operating, while the vast majority of the city’s 17.5m population have been told to stay at home through to next Sunday.

Shenzhen is home to the fourth-largest container port in the world. A similar Covid incident last year saw throughput nosedive by around three-quarters for a three-week period leading to massive snarl-ups at gateway ports in Europe and North America when the facilities eventually reopened.

Currently, operations at DaChan Bay Terminals to the west of Shenzhen remain normal according to a spokesperson, as there have been special arrangements made for frontline staff.

At Yantian, to the east of the city, home to the largest Shenzhen terminals, a spokesperson for Hutchison Ports said operations are continuing normally also.

“Since the strengthening of epidemic prevention policy in Shenzhen, Yantian has been maintaining normal and smooth operations. At present, all operations in Yantian and surrounding trailer business are operating normally,” the spokesperson told Splash.

Hong Kong Shippers’ Council said that while Shenzhen terminal operators report operations as normal, the main cargo consolidation centres and warehouses in Shenzhen have suspended operations, although smaller warehouses and cargo collection points outside Shenzhen still function as normal.

“Factories are mostly outside Shenzhen and loading of export goods can still be performed, but road traffic has reduced substantially and container haulage will be affected significantly as well,” Hong Kong Shippers’ Council told Splash.

With reduced workforces and limited truck availability, ship queues – not just for container vessels – are also beginning to manifest at many key Chinese ports this week including Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan and Qingdao.

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