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Lockdowns in China bring setbacks to maritime

Effects to the lockdown in China are still not felt, but the consequences are expected to come soon following the week-long hiatus

While the crisis in Ukraine is still unsettled, a new wave of crisis for the maritime industry has appeared. And things are not looking good for the maritime industry, with the recent lockdowns in Guangdong province and Shenzhen, where some of the busiest ports of China are located.

Worsening port congestions and long-term effects
When China faced an outbreak of the coronavirus again, they were quick to act in imposing lockdowns inland. Chinese President Xi Jinping also called for tighter controls at ports of entry to ensure that the virus will be contained and incoming people will not worsen the outbreak situation.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg. While ports were allowed to run as normal, processes were tighter and stricter. People accessing the ports were required to have a negative Covid test result, which meant that there were lesser people working at the ports. This would, in turn, reduce efficiency and speed of loading and unloading vessels.

According to information from logistics software tracker Project44, there had been a 44% spike in vessel waiting times at the port of Shenzhen during the week of the lockdown. In neighbouring ports of Ningbo and Shanghai, tracking indicated that vessel waiting times were also beginning to lengthen.

But this is a larger problem that is festering. While it may seem as if ports in other countries are manageable with shorter queues, once vessels get stocked up in China, there would be a mad rush to get their cargoes offloaded. This would mean that ports around the world may find themselves having to deal with heavy port congestions and delays.

For seafarers, it would mean having to wait on both ends – picking and offloading of cargo.


Crewing Online Media Team
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