The extreme weather conditions are affecting some of the busiest container ports in the world, including Yantian port in southern China’s export and Shenzhen's industrial hub.
Two weeks ago, Shanghai's Yangshan mega-terminal facility and nearby ports were forced to evacuate ships, as Typhoon In-Fa crashed into the coast causing severe flooding, which led to containers stowed in the hold of a bulk carrier to overturn.
The heavy rain, strong winds and intense flooding is bringing chaos to an already overstretched industry, as global trade is still in the midst of recovering from other disruptions earlier this year. Yantian had just began to get operations back to a sense of normal, after a Covid-19 outbreak in May meant an unavoidable 3-week closure to the port. Martin Carter, Head of Operations at Unsworth, says:
The impact of Yantian's closure was an immense strain, as it serves one of the world's largest manufacturing bases, so the news that even more major ports will have to do the same is only going to cause more chaos for shippers.
It looks like conditions will remain unstable, as typhoons are predicted to continue to hit China throughout August, with this season expected to be far more tenacious than usual for tropical cyclones.
With every port closure, containers continue to pile up, which only adds to the existing delays and backlog that the industry have been trying to tackle for months. What we'll begin to see with these closures is surrounding ports try to manage the overflow, as carriers will begin to divert their ships to the next available drop off spot. This will cause many other smaller hubs to feel overwhelmed, as they simply do not have the capacity to deal with the movements from major ports. With Yantian's closure, we saw ships divert away from southern China, causing hubs like Guangdong to shut down due to excess inventory that couldn't be export.
We continue to monitor the situation and will provide any clients with China shipments updates where necessary. If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with your Unsworth representative as soon as possible or email us below.