Container supply slumps in Southern China ports on Covid lockdowns

Ports in southern China impacted by Covid-19 lockdowns that are further disrupting the global box trade have seen a significant slump in container availability in the last two weeks, according to the latest data from Container xChange.

Pearl River Delta port productivity has slumped in recent weeks with container lines citing positive Covid-19 cases for slowing productivity.

Yantian and Shekou ports, near Shenzhen, and Nansha port, part of the Guangzhou box hub, have been most affected. All three have seen significant drops in container availability in the last two weeks, according to Container xChange, the world’s leading online platform for the leasing and trading of shipping containers.

“Far few empty boxes are arriving back to southern China as container lines skip calls and many shippers will likely face long delays or higher prices for equipment if they can’t avoid using the affected ports,” said Dr Johannes Schlingmeiner.

Yantian saw a 19% drop in incoming containers between Week 17 and last week (Week 22). Nansha’s drop in incoming containers over the same period was 16.4%, while at Shekou the plunge was 29.6%.

Each of the ports also suffered major week-on-week drops in incoming boxes with an average change between Week 21 and Week 22 of -4.1% at Yantian, -16.7% at Shekou and -10% at Nansha.

In Container xChange’s Container Availability Index (CAx) an index reading of below 0.5 means more containers leave a port compared to the number which enter. Above 0.5 means more containers are entering the port.

At Yantian, the CAx reading for a 40 ft dry container was 0.61 in Week 17 but fell to 0.47 in Week 22. At Shekou and Nansha similar drops were apparent over the same time period for most equipment types.

“Our forecasts suggest container availability at these ports in southern China will not increase in the coming weeks as more container lines cancel calls,” said Dr Johannes Schlingmeiner.

“We expect container prices in those areas to increases and many shippers will likely turn to Shipper Owned Containers (SOC) which are still available on our exchange.”


(Courtesy: Container xChange)

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