If you thought we have escaped shipping congestions as we entered 2022, think again. Containers have begun stacking up at China’s Shenzhen port again, as port congestions from the United States and Europe ripples back to Asia, delaying vessels picking up goods from the Chinese manufacturing and technology hub.
While manufacturers in southern China are busy making the last push to ship cargo out of the country before the Lunar New Year holiday sets in, starting next week, the trucked volumes into Shenzhen’s Yantian terminal rose by about 30%, on 13th January 2022, as compared to the volumes in December 2021, reported People’s Daily. The goods have been stacking up as the ships which were scheduled to pick them up have been delayed by the congestion prevailing in the U.S. and Europe.
The ships arriving in Shenzhen’s Yantian terminal are reportedly delayed by an average of a week at the moment, and the number of vessels arriving from Europe and the U.S. have fell down by at-least 40% in the past fourteen days, said the Yantian terminal in a customer advisory on Wednesday.
This comes amid the Shenzhen port already facing Covid-induced problems, including stringent lockdowns across districts in China, testing of port workers and truck delays at the container terminals of Yantian and Shekou.
Prompted by the congestion, the Yantian terminal has declared that it will start restricting the acceptance of containers. From Friday, full shipping containers can only be trucked in four days prior to the respective vessel’s berthing, said the operator.
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As the workers will begin heading home for holiday from next week, the next seven days is set to be the peak period to ship cargo in and out of China, said Zencargo, the digital freight forwarding firm. This will be followed by a lull in shipping activities, as demand starts to pick up from February, 2022.
Ports around the world are still grappling with congestion, which started back in early 2021, as the pandemic heads to its third year, further piling pressure on supply chains already affected by the shortage of workers as the omicron variant spreads globally. The ports of New York and New Jersey have been witnessing congestion owing to a surge in the number of port workers in quarantine for Covid-19 from 10th January, 2022.
Mark O’Neil, the CEO of Columbia Shipmanagement Ltd. said, “It’s not just China, all shipping operations have been affected world-wide. It’s almost certain that we will see more delays to shipping because omicron is a short, sharp step backwards.”