The events of the past couple of years, like the Suez Canal blockage and the quarantined ports of Asia, have affected the regular functioning of supply chains around the world, delaying schedules for loading and unloading cargo, causing a shortage of containers, and disrupting distribution logistics, among many other logistic issues.
For the regular public it may be completely unknown how one small event can damage these delicate timelines and dynamics, but for those who follow the logistic market, it was clear from the start how hard it’ll be to recover from these setbacks and that it’ll take a long time to normalize port operations.
The maritime congestion following Ever Given’s grounding was only worsened by the widespread quarantines and lockdowns caused by Covid prevention protocols. Several European countries have also banned Russian-flagged vessels from their ports, and as a consequence, re-routed flow and is pushing increased container ship activity into European ports.
Although the situation regarding Covid has been normalized in most countries, Shanghai has been currently in the spotlight for its extended lockdown and similar closures in many of China’s districts.
The closure of one of the world’s biggest trade regions has caused havoc among suppliers, further affecting distribution and shipping times. Manufacturing in some countries could be completely stopped if severe restrictions in Shanghai and surrounding cities are not lifted soon.
Based on current trends, the lockdowns will not begin to ease until mid-May at the regional or district level with the repercussions of Covid lockdowns extending into June or even further into the summer.
Container port congestion at Chinese ports is very high with waiting times at Ningbo rising to up to seven days, but waiting times in shanghai remain at less than two days as cargo volumes have been significantly reduced.
Imported containers are waiting on average for 12.1 days at Shanghai’s port before pick-up, and transit times for containers are almost doubled, compared to 2019.