COVID Measures at China's Ports Are Causing More Shipping Delays, Freight Rate Increases
Continued COVID-19 safety measures at major Chinese ports are resulting in delays of international shipments and increased freight rates.
Ports in Shenzhen and Guangzhou will reportedly continue disinfection and quarantine measures until at least next week, causing delays of up to 15 days at some ports.
Guangdong is currently under relatively strict lockdown measures, keeping more than 300,000 residents from leaving their homes or communities. The impact of these measures has reached the region’s shipping capabilities.
The South China Morning Post reported that these ports are limiting the amount of days that containers are allowed to enter ahead of their corresponding ship’s arrival time. At the end of May, the Yantian port had completely stopped all container traffic for four days at the end of last month, according to the South China Morning Post.
The ports are also reportedly limiting truck operations by requiring drivers to book their arrival in advance and present a negative COVID-19 test from within a 72-hour window.
“We see traffic congestion, and it could take five hours for an empty container pick-up or laden container gate-in,” a spokesperson for Dutch shipping company Maersk told customers.
Maersk also claimed that its operations in parts of the Yantian port were approximately 30% lower than normal, with operations in other parts of the port suspended until further notice.
The Morning Post also reported that freight rates across Asia and Europe have reached more than $10,000 per 40-foot container, which is a year-over-year increase of 518%.
Shipping and logistics issues resulting from the pandemic have continued to stress global supply chains, slowing delivery of goods and ratcheting up prices.
FedEx and UPS recently increased various shipping surcharges, while U.S. ports are still experiencing massive cargo backlogs while dealing with an ongoing volume surge that began late last year and worsened in January. Those delays are now expected to continue well into 2021.