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Traffic backs up along the Yangtze as pilots are required to quarantine

Traffic along the Yangtze, China’s longest river and a massive source of cargoes both domestically and for export, is worsening.

According to analysts at Singapore’s Eastport Research, traffic is backing up at ports near and along the Yangtze River over the past month with a severe shortage of pilots slowing vessel movements. The average time spent per vessel in Zhangjiagang and Shanghai increased by almost a day in October.

Specialised river pilots are now required to be quarantined after completing their duties, which has led to pilot shortages.

The average time spent per vessel increased by 169% year-on-year for Jiangyin, 154% year-on-year for Nantong, 41% year-on-year for Ningbo and 190% year-on-year for Zhangjiagang in October, according to data from Eastport.

Approximately 3bn tonnes of cargo is moved by ship along the Yangtze every year making it the busiest inland waterway for cargo in the world.

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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