The sea freight experts at a. hartrodt warn of new obstacles for South China traffic: "In mid-December, local barge companies will start to suspend their operations for one and a half months until February 14, 2022. Almost all smaller terminals in the region will no longer be served," informs Fan Luo, Managing Director of a. hartrodt Xiamen. All feeder services between Yantian (Shenzhen) and the Pearl River region, Xiamen as well as Nansha (Guangzhou) will be affected from December 13, 2021. On December 27, the respective services with Shekou, Da Chan Bay (Shenzhen) and Hong Kong will also be interrupted.
Containers could be stuck in Hong Kong for weeks
As part of China's zero-Covid strategy, the measure is intended to allow family travel for Chinese New Year from February 1 to 7, 2022. Luo urgently advises not to transship anything to South China via Hong Kong, "to avoid containers being stuck for weeks". Peter Zink, Business Development Manager Middle East and Greater China at a. hartrodt in Frankfurt, urges: "Customers need to be flexible and shift cargo to ports with direct services."
Shortage of a quarter of capacity for intra-Asian shipments
South China shipments are to be prepared earlier before Chinese New Year this time than one year ago, because the holidays are shifted forward by eleven days in 2022 due to the lunar calendar. Factories will close for vacation already two weeks before Chinese New Year. "Time is tight to get cargo on the vessel," Luo warns. At least the loading/unloading situation, which has been difficult for months, is easing slightly at the moment: "The waiting time from China to Europe and Australia has shortened," reports Zink. According to Luo, to the USA trade lanes are also "better than they were two months ago". On the other hand, there is a shortage of a quarter of the capacity in intra-Asian shipping.
In parallel with Chinese New Year, the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing from February 4 to 20. The impact on cargo transportation is "unpredictable" for Luo but he expects "certain areas to be completely shut down".