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Important Shipping Update

Ningbo Lockdown Measures Tightened

Forwarders are shifting volumes to congested-Shanghai to avoid landside delays, despite carrier schedules so far unaffected by the newest Covid-disruption at Ningbo. Ningbo-Zhoushan Port has repeatedly fallen victim to China’s tough Covid restrictions over the past six months, with the latest lockdown taking place in Ningbo’s Beilun district, which borders three of the port’s container terminals.

Container loading and discharge is operating normally, but the impact on trucking and access to the port is severe, according to local forwarders; “Many truckers live in Beilun and there are complicated Covid-19 control policies there, so it’s extremely difficult to bring containers in or out.

Some shipping lines may decide to omit Ningbo and, as there is only three or four weeks until Chinese New Year, we recommend shipping as early as possible from alternative ports instead of queuing for Beilun”

Indeed, while Maersk advised it had no plans to omit Beilun terminals from its schedules, the prospect of long landside delays has also prompted other forwarders to recommend shifting volumes from the port.

LCL cargo has been “severely affected”, another forwarder said, as some groupage containers were stuck at warehouses until they could be gated-in. The forwarder told customers: “For any LCL shipments booked from Ningbo but not delivered to us yet, please cancel the booking from Ningbo and divert the shipment to Shanghai immediately.”

Westbound Logistics said trucks could not move from Ningbo to most nearby cities, and drivers entering the city faced a 14-day quarantine. Therefore, it added, many international bookings were being rerouted through other ports which, in turn, is putting additional pressure on those hubs.

COVID Impact on AU Logistics

Australia is facing an unprecedented surge of positive COVID-19 cases as the highly transmissible Omicron variant quickly spreads across the country.  With each new case brings a wave of close contacts and venue alerts, including freight forwarders, warehouses and depot operators who have received notifications from health regulators regarding people who have checked in at their premises testing positive.

This could be hundreds of drivers coming onto those sites daily and often forces workers to isolate or brave the lengthy queues at testing facilities and await test results that can take over a week to return due to the surge in PCR tests being completed.

As a result we are seeing less viability of truck drivers and depot staff to deal with the increasing number of containers shipping in and out of the country. Many warehouses and depots have decided to restructure their operations and segregate teams to work at different times over a 24 hour period to minimise any cross contact between workers.

This also restricts the number of workers available during peak times and the volume of containers that can be processed per hour.

As a result, further delays and the potential for container storage and detention have become a factor. Industry bodies have begun to push the government to seek access to faster and more readily available testing solutions and Henning Harders also continue to apply pressure to shipping lines to extend detention times in the wake of the surge in case numbers.

Shippers are advised to stay in contact with their Key Account Managers regularly if deliveries need to be adjusted due to labour restrictions during this period whilst also preparing for potential disruption to delivery schedule as truckers and depots battle staff shortages of their own.

A shortage in depot staff and truck drivers causes further delays and extended container detention.

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