Congestion at southern China’s container shipping ports is growing as officials increase up disinfection procedures in response to a surge of COVID-19 cases, resulting in the largest backlog since at least 2019.
Since the recent wave of cases in late May, more than 150 coronavirus cases have been reported in Guangdong province, a key manufacturing and exporting region in southern China, prompting local governments to step up preventative and control measures, limiting port processing capacity.
Ports in Guangdong, including Yantian, Shekou, Chiwan, and Nansha, have issued notices prohibiting ships from entering ports without prior reservations, and will only take bookings for export-bound containers three to seven days prior to vessel arrival.
Clients have been advised of vessel delays, modifications to port call dates, and the potential of some ports being skipped entirely.
“We had a similar issue last year, so we know how to act; the only difference now is that transportation prices are skyrocketing. The increase in freight rates is mirrored in an increase in material costs of roughly 15% -30% “”It’s just been a year,” remarked a sales manager at an electronics cable maker in Shenzhen, Guangdong, near Hong Kong.
To meet a customer deadline, the sales manager’s company had to pay extra expenses to send merchandise to ports near Shanghai.