China ports are continuing to struggle with the pressures on the supply chain with the challenges being compounded both by the rush to get goods shipped before the Lunar New Year holiday and the growing number of cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Four of China’s largest port regions have all reported cases of the virus and limited lockdowns in recent days while others such as Ningbo-Zhoushan continue to struggle with the backlogs created by recent disruptions. With shippers frantically trying to redirect cargo, other ports are reporting mounting backlogs with the international container terminal at Yantian becoming the latest to restrict volumes due to the congestion.
While none of the ports have suspended operations as some did previously, Shanghai and Tianjin for example have both in recent days reported significant disruptions and lockdowns in regions of the cities. Last week, both Toyota and Volkswagen both announced early closures of their operations because of the lockdowns in parts of the city. The car companies said they would temporarily suspend operations due to the virus-related restrictions and problems along the supply chains.
China continues with its zero-tolerance policy to the virus although has shown restraint using lockdowns limited to smaller regions during the current wave. However, in Shanghai, China’s busiest port, officials are reporting that ships are running as much as a week behind schedule due to global port congestion and mounting backlogs from other ports such as Ningbo and Tianjin. Risk management consultants Russell Group is now estimating that port congestion at Shanghai is costing an estimated $4.5 billion a week in lost trade. Suki Basi, Russell Group Managing Director commented that further analysis shows that $635 million worth of trade from Shanghai to the United States is currently under threat due to the congestion in the ports.