Operations at Yantian International Container Terminal continue to be hobbled by a spreading COVID outbreak in the region, which has begun affecting operations at nearby ports as well. Two weeks ago the terminal announced a temporary shutdown that was meant to last from May25-27. That shutdown extended several days longer in an situation many carriers labeled "deteriorating" instead of improving. With a significant decrease in labor force to process containers through the port, operations move significantly slower and add to a mounting backlog of shipments waiting for departure. While the terminal has begun accepting laden containers for export again, operations are still below 30% of normal capacity. Also being affected are the nearby ports of Nansha, Chiwan, and Shekou. Lockdowns in the surrounding area to combat the spread of COVID coupled with the rush to pivot to alternate ports of load have exacerbated the congestion situation beyond Yantian. Multiple carriers have announced plans to omit these ports from upcoming sailings in order to minimize delays and protect schedule reliability. Currently, schedule reliability is below 25% worldwide.
In terms of impact, the average time vessels spend at Chinese ports has increased from approximately 1.2 days from two weeks ago to 3.3 days today. Some estimates put the increase in backlog around 25,500 TEUs for each day that operations are hindered at Yantian, one of the world's busiest seaports. For comparison, when the Suez Canal was blocked by the Ever Given, it impacted a daily flow of 55,000 TEUs and lasted 6 days. We are currently over 14 days past the original shutdown date with no sign of improvement. There are currently more than 35 vessels anchored waiting to call Yantian.
OTS will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as it develops. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your OTS Sales Representative.