15th June 2021
With a Covid-19 outbreak among port staff on 21st May, Yantian Port imposed stringent disinfection, quarantine measures and finally, the partial closure of the port within the last weeks. This has caused bottlenecks to international trade as Yantian is one of China's busiest container ports with an annual handling volume of more than 13 million 20-foot containers.
Now, the Port Authority has been successful with reopening the west port yard for laden container import pickup, allowing a maximum of 7 vessels alongside at the same time. This moves productivity towards 45% of normal levels.
It is another situation that is adding up to previous challenges in shipping and global trade such as the Covid-19 pandemic, changing consumer habits, and the week-long blockage of a major trade route through the Suez Canal. This causes overall delays for ocean freight worldwide.
What will happen over the coming weeks in global trade?
The reopening of the Yantian port has a positive impact on the situation and is expected to reach similar trade activity as before the incident. However, schedule times will be impacted, and vessels at the port currently face an average waiting time of 16 days and counting. With that, ripple effects from the congestion at Southern China's main export hub put further pressure on fragile supply chains all around the world.
Together with Maersk we are following the situation closely. While Maersk is diverting vessels, they are closely monitoring the situation in neighbouring ports. The current average waiting time in Shekou, Nansha, and Hongkong is between 2-4 days, but as more carriers omit Yantian, this number is expected to rise. Maersk will decide which ports to divert with the objective in mind of minimising supply chain delays as best as possible.
We're here to keep you up to date on the current situation
While the current outlook might change, we are here to keep you informed on the situation in shipping. We recommend prioritising the most urgent and critical goods to be shipped first and keep track of the situation as it develops.
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