Shanghai cargo volumes returning to normal

Cargo volumes moving through Shanghai were returning to levels last seen pre-lockdown in April this year, according to Denmark-based shipper Maersk in its latest market update. Demand from US consumers was “pulling forward” the peak shipping season on North American trades, Maersk said.

Factory production in Shanghai and its environs was picking up and demand rebounded in July, with positive signs of a seasonal peak on many trades, Maersk said, also noting that road transport in the Shanghai city area had been fully restored. Intra-provincial trucking was also back to pre-lockdown levels, although lorry drivers were subject to local testing requirements.

Maersk did note however that terminal congestion, especially in North America and Europe, was continuing to affect schedule reliability. Strikes in Germany had exacerbated the disruption.

Anne-Sophie Zerlang Karlsen, Maersk’s head of Asia Pacific ocean customer logistics, said that “The situation in Shanghai is normalizing but is still both fluid and hard to predict. This, combined with the strikes in Europe and the continuous congestion in the ports in North America means that our customers have a larger need for flexibility and agility”.

Maersk said that it had deployed extra loaders where possible, rescheduled services, reset some transatlantic and Asia-North America services and was exploring the possibility of redirecting cargo at Rotterdam to other ports.

Global trade volumes declined by 2.5% in May compared with the same month last year, said Maersk. Maersk concluded that “the outlook remains highly uncertain, and we mainly see downside risks”.