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Shenzhen partially lifts lockdown

Shippers will be relieved with news from Shenzhen where local authorities are easing lockdown rules as a Covid scare passes without too great damage to supply chains, especially compared to an outbreak last summer that wiped out three-quarters of the vital boxport’s productivity for three weeks.

Most of Shenzhen, not including the port, has been in what was planned to be a seven-day lockdown since last Sunday as part of China’s so-called dynamic zero-Covid strategy. However, factory operations and public transport in four districts including Yantian and a special economic zone have been put back into operation, the local government said late on Thursday.

China reported 4,365 new infections nationwide on Friday, according to National Health Commission data, as the country battles its worst coronavirus outbreak since early 2020 with mass testing underway in many big cities including Shanghai.

An update from Hapag-Lloyd yesterday suggested that reduced trucking capacity at many Chinese ports could see cargo volumes diminish temporarily as China battles the omicron surge.

The congestion issue brought about by this latest Covid surge in China is not just affecting container operations. Data from Braemar ACM yesterday showed that queues of laden capesize bulk carriers have grown by 26% week-on-week to 7.4m dwt and currently lie 12.3% above the five-year average for this time of year.

“The scope for a rebound in congestion, as a result of the lockdowns, is now higher given the constraints ports are under when employee infections rise,” Braemar ACM stated in a note to clients yesterday.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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