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Rising delays in China’s container trade jeopardise Global Supply Chains

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SHANGHAI : As China fights COVID -19 outbreaks in key industrial centers, increasing delays on the country’s main trade routes threaten the supply chain.

Supply chain visibility platform, Project 44 highlighted that vessel and cargo delay times increased significantly year-over-year throughout the majority of key commercial trade routes from China to the rest of the globe.

Regarding the critical transpacific trade lane connecting China and the US West Coast, project44 stated, “While selected China-US West Coast route schedules have improved significantly in recent months, gathered data indicates that multi-day delays on many critical routes remain high, if not increasing, in light of recent Covid variant outbreaks in southwestern China.”

On routes connecting China and non-West Coast ports in the United States, ship delays surged to an average of 2.44 days in July 2021, up from 0.6 days a year earlier.

The pattern is similar for China-EU traffic, which increased from an average of 0.51 days in July 2020 to 2.18 days in July 2021. However, delays are much longer on high-volume port duos. Shanghai-Hamburg and Shenzhen-Hamburg shipments are now experiencing delays of 8.44 and 7.86 days, respectively.

“The fact that shipments are still being delayed and Covid variant breakouts are increasing in key Chinese industrial centers suggest that there may be far-reaching downstream effects leading up to the Black Friday and Christmas shopping seasons,” said Josh Brazil, VP Marketing for project44.

“We’re witnessing significant variance in delay times between months and routes, such as the US West Coast vs East Coast ports, which makes supply chains especially difficult for shippers to manage,” he added.

These new figures, along with the outbreaks of Covid variants, serve as a reminder to shippers that they will be unable to minimise losses associated with delays and bottlenecks unless they have a comprehensive and real-time picture of vessel delays, ports, and carrier performance.

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