Container shortages worsen

The shortage of containers at southern Chinese ports was continuing to deteriorate after carriers began to bypass calls at those ports because of a sequence of outbreaks of Covid-19 in Guangzhou province.

Container xChange has said that the ports of Yantian, Shekou and Nansha were those worst affected by container shortages.

“Far fewer empty boxes are arriving back to southern China as container lines skip calls, and many shippers will face long delays or higher prices for equipment if they can’t avoid using the affected ports,” according to Container xChange founder Dr Johannes Schlingmeiner In a customer advisory.

Maersk said that, including partner vessels, it had omitted 64 planned calls at Yantian and Shekou, due to “delays upwards of 16 days” at those ports.

That leaves export cargo stranded at the ports, and a growing shortage of unloaded “empties”  for future exports.

Container xChange said Yantian had seen a drop of 19% in empty container imports in the past five weeks, while Nansha had experienced a fall of 16% and Shekou a fall of 30%.

Dr Schlingmeiner said that Container xChange predicted that container availability at these ports would not increase in the coming weeks as more container lines cancelled calls.