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A major bottleneck at a Chinese port is creating additional disruption to supply chains and global trade, two months after the Suez Canal blockage disrupted global shipping, including oil cargo routes.
The current situation at the Chinese port of Yantian Port is a “worrying” trend, the world’s largest container shipping company, Denmark-based A.P. Moller – Maersk, said on Thursday.
The port’s operations were disrupted several weeks ago because of a COVID-19 outbreak, creating considerable congestion of container ships bound out of China as Chinese exports are booming with global economies reopening.
“After a six-day stop on export containers, the Yantian Port Authorities have announced that productivity is gradually set to increase as more workers return and more berths reopen, but the damage has already been done,” Maersk said in a statement.
“The trend is worrying, and unceasing congestion is becoming a global problem. Due to Covid-19 and a significant volume push since the end of last year, terminals are becoming global bottlenecks, be it at berths, yards or gating out cargo, and it’s continuing throughout the logistics chain – in the warehouses, the distribution centres – with numbers on the rise,” the company added.
The average waiting time at Yantian is “16 days and counting,” Maersk said on Wednesday.
Crude oil cargoes are not affected, but the disruption to supply chains, leading to high prices, is already evident and impacting inflation globally.
According to Yantian Port authorities, traffic could return to normal by the end of this month, Bloomberg reports.
The disruption in China is the second such shipping crisis this year, after the Suez Canal blockage stopped traffic on the important shipping chokepoint, including for crude and refined oil products, at the end of March. Back then, the skyscraper-sized containership Ever Given got stuck sideways in the canal. Analysts then estimated that as many 10 crude tankers carrying around 13 million barrels of oil were affected by the disrupted traffic in the Suez Canal.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com