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Ships back up across Covid-hit southern Vietnam

Ships are backing up Yantian-style off southern Vietnam as Covid-19 wreaks further havoc on Asian supply chains.

The Vietnamese government put the whole southern region into lockdown on Sunday as Covid-19 cases have soared recently. Ho Chi Minh City had already been in lockdown for a week prior with most of its terminals now severely congested. Further south, many ships are at anchor off Vung Tau, an important feeder and transhipment hub, waiting for berth space to open up.

Many Vietnamese factories have been forced to close in recent weeks. In 2020, Vietnam only had 1,465 Covid-19 cases for the whole year across a population of around 98m, making it one of the best performing countries in the world against the pandemic. However, latest daily data from Monday shows Vietnam had 4,843 new cases in one day, triple the whole of 2020.

In late May a Covid-19 outbreak at Yantian port, one of southern China’s most important export hubs, caused chaos to already pressurised liner scheduling. The subsequent four-week cut to port productivity at the eastern Shenzhen port is still playing out in terms of global liner calls.

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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