Storms continue to brew for global shipping, after floods in China and Europe take their toll

Tue 27 Jul 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

ship in stormy waters

Floods in Europe and China have been described as “another body blow” for supply chains, with meteorologists warning of further turbulence ahead. 

It’s been a choppy year for global shipping already, with the Ever Given ship getting stuck in the Suez Canal in the spring and Covid-19 infections bringing ports in southern China to a standstill in June. 

Flooding in Germany and Belgium, among other European countries, is the latest cause for concern, particularly as it has impacted rail connections on the continent. 

Tim Huxley, CEO of Mandarin Shipping, told CNBC: “This is really going to disrupt the supply chain because the railway links have all been broken.” 

The Chinese region Henan also saw significant flooding last week. 


Huxley said that railways from the Czech Republic and Slovakia connecting to key northern European ports in Rotterdam and Hamburg are among the links in the supply chain to have been broken. 

“And so that’s going to delay cargo movements in and out,” he said. “It’s going to really disrupt the industry.” 

Further disruption ahead 

Troublesome weather looks set to continue with predictions of further flooding in Belgium and a typhoon continuing to impact eastern China. 

The Loadstar reports that a yellow thunderstorm warning has been issued by Belgium’s meteorological institute (IRM), which has forecast that a possible 10-30 litres per square metre of rain could fall in a short time. 

Typhoon In-Fa, which hit eastern China last weekend, is also set to continue to hit ocean and air freights in Shanghai this week. 

Everstream Analytics told Lloyd’s Loading List that although the storm’s winds have eased since the weekend, it nonetheless “threatens to put some assets at high risk with severe flooding, including Shanghai Pudong Airport and the ports of Ningbo, Shanghai, Changzhou, and Nanjing”.