Container lines are diverting reefer shipments and some vessel calls at Shanghai as congestion worsens at the port due to the prolonged Covid lockdown in the city.

As the Shanghai lockdown moves into its third week a severe shortage of trucking capacity, as well as warehouses remaining closed, is impacting yard capacity at the world’s largest container, particularly for reefer cargoes.

Shanghai has kept terminals at Yangshan and Waigaoqiao by using a closed loop system where workers live and sleep at the port never going home so they are not exposed to the environment outside the terminal.

Speaking to Seatrade Maritime News, Thomas Knudsen, Managing Director of Toll Group explained: “Well, the problem is they’re trying to operate the port by insulating the port. That only works for transhipment, it doesn’t work for anything local.”

Many truck drivers are unwilling to drive into Shanghai due to the risk of testing positive and being quarantined for two – three weeks. So, instead they choose to work in other areas such as Ningbo. “The port might work, but everything into the port doesn’t work. People are reluctant to go to the port, people are reluctant to go to the factories,” Knudsen said.

CMA CGM,Hapag-Lloyd, MSC, and Ocean Network Express (ONE) warned their customers of reefer cargoes being diverted to other ports due to the lack of reefer points, while Maersk is omitting Shanghai calls on some services.

“The port will not be accepting reefer and dangerous goods’ containers. These containers are being discharged in previous ports before arriving to Shanghai,” Hapag-Lloyd said in customer advisory.

A requirement for truck drivers to hold a negative PCR test taken in the last 48 hours as well as printed road permit, full itinerary, and delivery destination is putting stress on availability and increasing turnaround times.

CMA CGM said in a service update: “We observe massive impact on both trucking movements velocity and available trucking capacities. These factors have a major impact on import cargo that suffer drastically slower pick up time and therefore excessively stretched dwell time which results in high stress on yard plug capacities.”

Meanwhile, Maersk said in a customer advisory: “Specifically, we foresee the efficiency of Maersk trucking service from/to Shanghai will be further impacted due to the lockdown on Shanghai. Maersk can provide multi-modal services via barge or rail as alternative solutions for the corridor between Shanghai and nearby cities.”

Maersk is also starting to omit some vessel calls at Shanghai with shipments on calls on originally expected to depart on 14 and 28 April diverted to other services.

Source: Seatrade Maritime News