The Pandemic Effect; Operations on a Standstill at the Busiest Port of China

The container yard at the Port of Yantian in Shenzhen is partly shut since the previous week after a few of the port members were diagnosed covid positive. The Yantian Port is considered one of the busiest ports in the world.  

Yantian Port is the hub for all export activities in the Southern region of China; according to the reports, the port had stopped accepting container exports until May 30th Sunday. 

It is speculated that the disruptions will continue in the coming week as AP Moller-Maersk A/S has reported delays in shipping due to a sudden closure. Further delays are expected to raise the costs of shipping from China, which has already skyrocketed due to the lack of container availability and factors affecting the supply chain due to the pandemic.   

Talking about the same, a spokesperson from Maersk quoted,   

“A few more Covid-19 positive cases were reported in YICT. Consequently, all operations in the western area remain suspended. Operation in the eastern area, where mother-vessels mainly berth, remains but with low productivity. We see terminal congestion and four-to-five days of vessel delays in the coming week.”  

Talking about the further consequences, the Vice President of Global Carrier Management, Akhil Nair, quoted,    

“It’s not a good situation at all, with no exports coming out; we’ve seen a couple of carriers bound for the US skip Yantian and go straight up to Ningbo because they don’t want to wait. The challenge here is that you have a knock-on effect because there’s not enough equipment to start with, and carriers are releasing empty containers, in some cases only three to five days before the ETA. For anybody not in the local area, that could pose a challenge. It’s a vicious cycle.”  

Based on the situation at Yantian port, indeed the traffic is supposed to be diverted towards other ports of China including, Shanghai, Ningbo, and Xiamen, but as per reports, there is massive port congestion on the Shanghai port as of now.   

The local government has confirmed on Friday that mass testing will be conducted for the entire population of the Yantian district.