South China: Sea freight customers need patience

Coronavirus outbreak hampers handling at Shenzhen and Guangzhou ports.

In the Southern Chinese port of Yantian (Shenzhen), the world's largest container shipping company Maersk is currently warning of "vessel delays upwards of 16 days". This is due to disinfection and quarantine measures by local authorities to prevent more infections following a Coronavirus outbreak. Once again, this is disrupting global supply chains, which continue to be affected since the Suez Canal blockade at the end of March. Alf Hoernig, General Manager Seafreight Import and Customs Service at a. hartrodt Germany in Hamburg, advises customers: "Transport inquiries and orders should be placed as early as possible."

Container services omit Yantian

In the Pearl River Delta, in addition to Yantian, the ports of Shekou, Chiwan, Da Chan Bay (Shenzhen) and Nansha (Guangzhou) are also affected. Maersk informed last week that 64 of its own and partners' vessels had omitted Yantian and Shekou in order to protect schedule reliability. "The situation continues to deteriorate," the carrier summarizes. That could become a problem for Chinese exports for the Christmas season, which begins in late summer.

Extended lead times for containers

In view of the increasingly difficult conditions in the important China-Europe trade lane, a. hartrodt's comprehensive global network is paying off. The sea freight forwarders permanently exchange information with carriers and other partners on site in order to be able to offer solutions to customers. "This is not easy when productivity at the Yantian International Container Terminal is only 45 per cent of normal levels," says Hoernig. Both full and consolidated containers have extended lead times, suffering from backlogs and delivery problems in the Yantian port area. Therefore, Hoernig recommends air freight for time-critical goods.

The critical situation in South China is not only slowing down imports in Germany. Delayed vessels with empty containers hamper German exports as well. But Hoernig remains confident: "We want to keep delays for customers as short as possible and additional costs low."

Related News


Suez Canal accident: Sea freight remains affected

Following the accident of the ultra-large container carrier (ULCC) "Ever Given" in the Suez Canal, s
Read more