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Has the Shenzhen shutdown slowed cargo?

Following recent news of Shenzhen ports locking down due to the rise in Covid-19 cases, we mined Windward’s proprietary data to analyze recent trends in the area and see how this news might affect the supply chain. Our data shows that in the 48 hours following the announcement, there has been no significant change in the number of port calls to Shenzhen ports which, in the context of container shipping, consist primarily of Yantian, Chiwan, and Shekou. Between March 13-15, 2022, for example, 29 port calls were made to Yantian port, which is a normal three-day average for that port.

According to our data, every day that Shenzhen ports are not operating at full capacity could affect 79,644 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). When looking at the historical data for these ports over the past 12 months, June 2021 and October 2021 marked two of the three periods with the least port calls made to the ports of Shenzhen. In June 2021, Shenzhen ports were similarly shut down due to a spike in Covid-19 cases and in October 2021 the port of Yantian was closed due to a cyclone. Nevertheless, port calls during these months were still 82% and 97% of the monthly average for that year.

However, when looking at port congestion, Windward data shows that there was a 100% month-over-month spike in the number of container vessels waiting outside of Shenzhen ports, in June 2021. In fact, that month was the most congested since January 2020. It is therefore not a surprise that the drop back to normal occurs only at the end of the year, in December 2021. Should the congestion rise again in light of the current shutdown, we expect the Shenzhen ports to need about five-six months before going back to normal.
Source: Windward

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