China’s covid-19 woes not over yet with the Port of Yantian facing delays

On February 1, China’s Lunar New Year holiday starts and manufacturers in Southern China have been doing all they can to get goods shipped out before then. Unfortunately, many of these manufacturers will be frustrated and their customers disappointed by the non-arrival of ordered goods. On January 13, China’s People’s Daily reported that trucked volumes into Shenzhen’s Yantian terminal were around 30% higher than the previous month. Goods are stacking up for a variety of reasons.

Incoming ships delayed at Yantian

The ships arriving to pick up containers from the Yantian terminal are being delayed by an average of seven days due to congestion in U.S. and European ports. In mid-January, for example, the combined anchorage areas for the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge in Belgium recorded the highest number of vessels in the past nine months. The number of ships arriving at Yantian terminals from Europe and the U.S. fell by more than 40% in the second and third week of January, and the number of ships at the joint anchorages for the Shanghai and Ningbo ports was lower than it had been since September 2021.

Yantian Shipment Delays

China’s zero-tolerance COVID policy

The delays in ship arrivals at Shanghai have only added to the port’s COVID-induced problems. A fresh outbreak earlier in January led to entire districts being locked down, workers being tested and quarantined, and trucking delays at the Yantian and Shekou container terminals. China’s zero-tolerance COVID policy is not only shutting down manufacturing facilities across the country but also slowing downloading and unloading operations at ports like Shanghai.

Container acceptance restrictions

The combined impact of logjammed containers and COVID restrictions led the Yantian terminal to announce it would limit the acceptance of containers. To avoid any further deterioration in port operations, the operator said, full containers would only be allowed into the terminal four days before the collecting vessels are due to berth.

CDT Yantian

Supply chain disruptions continue

The congested ports and Lunar New Year holiday are expected to slow shipments of goods to the U.S. and Europe and raise input costs even further fueling inflation. In December 2021, the price of U.S. imports from China was at its highest level in six years, while the U.S. inflation rate hit 7% in January 2022.

As the pandemic heads into its third year, the pressure on global supply chains is unlikely to ease anytime soon since delays to shipping are still putting the brake on trade flows.

Disclaimer: The data referenced in this release is sourced from project44’s freight visibility platform, based on the logistics indicators that the platform tracks. The sample data sets referenced do not include all freight movement data tracked by other entities. Data from project44’s platform reflects a statically significant sample size to draw conclusions.

In case of any questions or comments, please contact us.

Josh Brazil (Director, Supply Chain Data Insights)