- China’s March covid lockdowns resulted in congestion, however, not as severe as the viral Shanghai congestion images.
- Among the ports affected by the Shanghai disruptions, Ningbo was hardest hit.
- The disruption in Shanghai had a limited impact on neighboring ports, with the exception of Ningbo.
Definition of terms in this article
Vessel Waiting Time
The average time in days vessels spends at anchor waiting to get a berth inside the port to start offloading and unloading import and export containers.
Vessel Working Time
The average time in days vessels spends inside the port (at berth) working to load and offload import and export containers.
The average total number of vessels waiting at anchor to berth.
The average total number of vessels at berth at the terminal offloading and unloading import and export containers.
Ports in this article
Shanghai, Qingdao, Yantian, Ningbo and HongKong
Disruptions in Shanghai
Gaining access to accurate ocean freight visibility has never been more crucial than it is today. News about China's Covid lockdowns led to multiple speculations and trending reports about tremendous congestion in Shanghai and other Asian ports. However, visibility data from SeaVantage Maritime Platform revealed a different picture of the situation of China’s ports. The extended lockdown in Shanghai resulted in some congestion in the port of Shanghai however not as severe as other trending images revealed. What actually happened?
Shanghai is prepared to fully open in June following over a two-month covid lockdown - What has the impact been on Chinese ports?
Vessel Waiting Time
Following the citywide lockdown of Shanghai on March 28, the daily average vessel waiting time in Shanghai rose to 2.2 days in April and has since risen to 2.4 days in May. The neighboring port of Ningbo experienced a similar increase in daily vessel waiting time due to imports to China being rerouted from Shanghai to Ningbo. The ports of Qingdao, Yantian, and Hong Kong were for the most part unaffected by the disruptions in Shanghai.
Vessel Working Time
The port of Shanghai remained operational throughout the city’s lockdown though at reduced container volumes. The daily average vessel working time to load and offload import and export containers at the port of Shanghai remained the same in the months of April and May. This was largely due to the low export volume from Shanghai, the tide times impacting the port and the "closed-loop management" which allowed employees to work and live on-site to ensure a 24-hour uninterrupted operation.
The ports of Shanghai and Ningbo experienced an increase in the daily number of vessels waiting to berth by 20% and 30% respectively in April. However, they have since returned to almost normal in May. Ningbo saw a significant increase in April while other neighboring ports (Hong Kong, Qingdao, and Yantian) experienced a slim decrease in daily waiting vessels within the same month.
The number of ships that worked daily at the port of Shanghai dropped from an average of 51 ships in March to 43 ships in May. On the other hand, the average number of ships working daily in the port of Ningbo rose to 49 ships in May. The port of Ningbo being less than a hundred miles from Shanghai was considered the next priority port of interest for berthing by carriers which contributed to the increase of its daily working ships.
The challenges stakeholders in ocean freight today have to deal with are more complex than they used to be. In addition to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic-related disruptions, stakeholders have to deal with issues related to the rising geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine and other unbeknownst external factors. To remain resilient in ocean freight, stakeholders will need to adopt solutions that provide them with real-time and predictive visibility.
Founded in 2018, SeaVantage is a data solutions provider that specializes in providing prediction-based analytics and visibility solutions to stakeholders in the maritime industry. Our cargo tracking and port insight platforms help our customers proactively manage and respond to unforeseen disruptions in their ocean transport, which in turn ensures a better quality of service for their end customers and financial gains.
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