Chinese ports including Yantian relax their Covid restrictions but Maersk says backlogs remain

Fri 25 Jun 2021
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

China’s Yantian container port is returning to full operations after a month of partial closure due to Covid, but it could take months to clear the backlog.

Lloyd’s Loading List reports that normal operations resumed yesterday with the number of laden gate-in tractors increasing to 9,000 per day.

Yantian International Container Terminal is a deep water port in Shenzhen, China – the third busiest gateway in the world – handling very large container ships.

Shipping giant Maersk told its customers that operations at the port are set to improve as workers return, though “schedule reliability will continue to suffer with an average waiting time of 16 days and counting," reports Supply Chain Dive.

Knock on effect

Operations fell to about 20% of normal during measures introduced because of a Covid outbreak, reports the Loadstar, causing delays at other ports in the Pearl River Delta as shippers sought alternatives. 

According to Seatrade Maritime News, Nansha and Shekou ports have been particularly affected. Maersk said that yard density at Nansha was at 100% on June 21, and delays of four to five days were expected over the next week.

82-day backlog

Lars Jensen, CEO of shipping consultancy Vespucci Maritime, told Lloyd’s Loading List that, based on balancing delayed freight with continuing operations, it would take 82 days to clear the backlog in Yantian.

Congestion at the third largest container port in the world has seen the cost of sending a 40 foot container from Asia to North Europe top $11,000 for the first time, the FT reports.