Limin Wang, Managing Director at a. hartrodt Shanghai Logistics, is stuck in quarantine at his home in the western districts of Puxi until at least mid-April. Due to new Omicron cases, the lockdown in China's megacity continues, with neighborhoods remaining sealed off for up to 14 days, according to media reports. Currently, the lockdown has been extended until further notice. "The situation is not getting better," Wang confirms. Areas in Pudong east of the Huangpu River are still under lockdown, he says. "Combined with the restrictions resulting from the Ukraine crisis, this is a challenging mix for all logistics providers," says Peter Zink, Business Development Manager Middle East and Greater China at a. hartrodt in Frankfurt.
Restrictions on pre-carriage and onward carriage
Operations at Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the Yangshan and Waigaoqiao container ports are officially running as normal. Nevertheless, according to Zink, "a temporary reduction in the flow of goods is to be expected" due to a lack of personnel. Logistical processes have been made more difficult mainly due to restrictions on pre-carriage and onward carriage, because truck drivers have to spend 14 days in quarantine after returning from Shanghai.
Improved transit times on the Iron Silk Road
During lockdown, all 80 employees of a. hartrodt Shanghai Logistics continue to work, partly in their home offices, and find solutions for customers. For urgent sea freight shipments, Wang and his team suggest going via the port of Ningbo. Air freight is handled as usual at the airport office in Pudong, but freighters depart from other international airports such as Hangzhou, Wuhan or Zhengzhou. Because more than 100 international flights are diverted from Shanghai until at least the beginning of May and there are not enough containers available at the port of Ningbo, Zink recommends rail as an alternative for shipments to Europe: "Transit times in the main run are currently improving to 20 to 25 days".
Zink considers transportation across the Iron Silk Road with Stars on Rails to be "still possible", despite sanctions against Russia: "Every customer has to make a risk assessment." If China sticks to its strict zero-Covid strategy, global supply chains could visibly falter.