Much of the world may have moved into a post-pandemic phase but Covid continues to wreak havoc on the supply chain as a two-week delay to an Ocean Network Express (ONE) vessel on the transpacific illustrates.

The ONE Competence, deployed on ONE’s PS3 service connecting the US West Coast with ports across Asia, has been delayed for around two weeks after positive Covid-19 cases were detected prior to berthing Pusan.

ONE said it had taken the necessary measures to enable the vessel to proceed with cargo operations in Pusan on 21 July.

However, the issue is the next westbound port of call is Shanghai, where strict Covid controls are in place, and the company said it was working to ensure the vessel meets required Covid regulations to continue its westbound voyage. The ONE Competence is now expected to berth in Shanghai on or around 5 August. According to the PS3 schedule published by the line there are normally just two days between Pusan and Shanghai calls on the service (see service map below story)

“Please be assured that we are closely monitoring the situation and utmost efforts are in place to safeguard the health and well-being of all seafarers onboard during the pandemic,” ONE said in customer advisory.

The delay illustrates the problem ship operators are facing with various Omicron sub-variants spreading rapidly around the world meaning that avoiding cases among ship’s crew is virtually impossible. However, China is continuing strict zero-policies and as a result crew cases can seriously impact voyages and schedules in an already stretched supply chain.

The fear among some shipowners and operators of Covid cases among crew has had a knock effect of seafarers being continued to be denied shore leave even at ports where it is now allowed.

Source: Seatrade Maritime News