South China, Covid-19 and still increasinged Ocean freight rates.

Published 2021-06-15

The closure of Yantian Port has had a detrimental effect on the other nearby ports, which are now suffering from the same scenario. Large amounts of export cargo are brought in, while shipping companies struggle with delays, low productivity in the port, and they are forced to cancel a number of planned arrivals. 

For instance, Maersk Line has reportedly chosen to cancel as many as 19 arrivals at Yantian Port due to the current situation, while shipping companies may face delays of up to 16 days because of low productivity. At the same time, daily reports on continued outbreaks of Covid-19 in some regions of southern China continue to reach us.

The above situation escalated further when Yantian Port got urgently shut down for all export cargo 28-30 May, but it had already been going on for two weeks even before that. The effect was already significantly greater than the one we saw in the Suez Canal and the accident with the Ever Given, which is said to have had an impact on about 330,000 TEU. Estimates say that we now have more than 700,000 TEU affected at Yantian Port alone. Cancelled arrivals have an immediate impact on the availability of empty containers and the export industries in the region.

At the same time, the freight index such as the Shanghai Container Freight Index has been rising for the 9th week in a row and reached new record levels. We are already seeing the annual volume peak, which normally occurs during the holiday months of July/August.

In general, there is a clear backlog of 4-5 weeks from the moment of booking till departure, so making future bookings well in advance is recommended.

Best regards
Henrik Bengtson


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