Container Shortage Cover

Container Shortage Worsens as Chinese Ports Need Empties

Container availability at southern Chinese ports continues to decrease as carriers skip calls due to Covid outbreaks in Guangzhou province.

Recently we published a post about congestion at the port of Yantian and others caused by restrictions set due to the same outbreak, which has led to multiple container lines choosing to omit some ports from their sailing schedules.

The latest data shows that the ports of Yantian, Shekou, and Nansha have been hit worst by the container shortage. Due to skipped calls, these ports and others in the region are facing empty box shortages. In turn the shortage is causing long delays and higher prices.

On June 12th Maersk published a customer advisory that it, along with partner vessels, had omitted 64 planned calls at the ports of Yantian and Shekou. The reason; delays of up to 16 days.

Recent reports revealed a 19% drop in empty container imports at Yantian over the past five weeks. Nansha a decrease of 16%, and Shekou has seen the worst plummeting 30%.

Unfortunately, experts don’t expect conditions to improve as container lines cancel calls.

Some shippers may be unable to secure equipment from carriers and will need to turn to shipper-owned containers (SOC). However, it’s not guaranteed carriers will accept SOC bookings. Even if a shipper gets their own container onboard, tracking can be difficult. Some who have gone the SOC route eventually located their container to learn that arrival would be weeks later than planned.

Eventually the traffic and equipment conditions will improve for Guangzhou ports, but the situation will continue to be tough for at least the foreseeable future.

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