Yantian Port

China Port Congestion Spreads Affecting Container Line Schedules

Port congestion is worsening throughout China with Yantian Container Terminal (YICT) being the latest to be affected. The port is extending its export suspension until Monday.

Yantian serves as the gateway to Shenzhen and was slated to resume container exports on Friday May 28th following a two-day suspension.

An update from Maersk revealed that there would be a 72-hour extension with a reduction in container gate-in times from four days to three for a vessel’s estimated time of arrival from May 31st until June 6th.

In its update, Maersk noted that a few more COVID-19 cases were reported in YICT and as a result all operations in the western area remain suspended.

Import operations are still running at YICT, but carriers have already begun omitting the port from schedules. Some logistics companies have learned of US bound carriers skipping the port and going to Ningbo to avoid the wait.

Beyond the wait for ships, fewer trucks are available on the land side of operations because they’re unable to turn and do additional trips. That reduced gate-in times is adding to the strain on equipment availability.

Shekou Container Terminals, also in the Pearl River Delta, announced that from Tuesday, June 1st, it would only accept laden export vessels with a 5-day estimated time of arrival. Nansha port in Guangzhou is expecting and prepared for additional calls by vessels diverted from Yantian.

As of publishing, Hong Kong hasn’t been affected. However, Shanghai, Ningbo, and Xiamen are expected to see more calls. This may aggravate the congestion already existing for Shanghai.

Blank sailings may be on the increase from northern Chinese ports. THE Alliance has announced nine blank sailings in June, which is about a quarter of total June sailings. However, Ocean Alliance and 2M have fewer necessary blank sailings.

However, all of this may be little consolation to European importers, who have seen Yantian and Shanghai transit times to the UK increase from 36 and 42 days this year. In past years the transit time averaged 26 and 31 days respectively.

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