Testing of imported foods for Covid-19 has been stretching the processing capacity at some major Chinese, reports Reuters, citing major shippers.
The shippers have warned of the possibility of additional fees and perhaps even diversions to other ports.
China increased its number of inspections of imported food in June after an outbreak of Covid-19 among people working at and visiting a major food market in Beijing.
German shipping firm Hapag-Lloyd said in a customer notice on Friday that “import container pick-up activities have been severely impacted and as a result reefer plugs are highly utilized especially at the port of Yantian and Ningbo”.
China has tested more than 225,000 samples and only found evidence of Covid-19 in six cargoes, but is continuing to inspect cargoes and carry out tests on a large portion of arrivals.
Maersk told customers last Wednesday July 15th that it had been diverting cargo from Yantian port in southern city Shenzhen because of limited reefer plugs.
“The terminal yard density for reefer units at Yantian has reached critical levels,” it said in the letter that encouraged customers to book instead to nearby ports Nansha or Chiwan. Maersk said that cargoes arriving in Yantian would face a congestion surcharge of $1,000 per container.
Bojun Supply Chain Co, which provides buyers with customs clearance services to major Chinese ports on foods including frozen products has said that processing that usually took three days was now taking a week and a half.