Although Shenzhen officials say Yantian Port should be back to normal operation by the end of this month (June), it would appear that the recent lockdown of the area due to a small Covid-19 outbreak has had a major disruptive effect on global trade. Some sources in the shipping industry are saying the disruption is far worse than the recent jam of the Suez Canal in Egypt, affecting twice as many containers of goods.
According to a report in Week in China, at least 50 ships are waiting at anchor outside Yantian, while cargoes have not been collected for more than 16 days, with more than 600,000 TEU of containers impacted.
Week in China quotes sources as saying the strain is being felt in supply chains. “The longer operations in Yantian are restricted, the worse the delays will become and the more the need to find alternative routes, particularly with the peak pre-Christmas season coming and supply chains already stretched to breaking point,” says Tim Huxley, chairman of Hong Kong’s Mandarin Shipping. “Coming after the crisis in Suez, this is just the latest blow to a stretched industry and it might be the end of ‘just in time’ inventories and a return to warehousing being a good investment. One thing is for sure, costs will rise and this will have to get passed down the supply chain along with these delays”.
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