The Port of Yantian is poised to reopen having been closed for over a month. The news will bring some relief to the stretched supply chain, but the resulting ripple effect is likely to continue in the coming weeks. However, the port's reopening is also expected to take some heat off nearby ports that have been overwhelmed by the shift of cargo flows.
Some 87 containerships over 10,000 dwt with a total capacity of 441,337 teu were still at anchor off southern China as of 0900 hrs June 23, BST, according to Lloyd’s List using data compiled from Lloyd’s List Intelligence. The number of ships anchored in the region has fallen from its peak of 104 ships comprising 611,966 teu on June 14.
In its latest port update this week, Maersk expected “continued vessel omissions and vessel delays at Yantian port upwards of 4 days in the coming week.”
The world’s largest liner shipping carrier said 19 of its services, mostly on Asia-Europe and transpacific trades, have been so far impacted by the Yantian crisis.
“The Port of Yantian is gradually increasing productivity as more workers return and more berths reopen,” the company said. “We welcome the diminishing queue, but schedule reliability remains compromised.”
The yard density was reduced to 60% as of June 21, according to Maersk.
Meanwhile, operation in the east area of the port, designed to mainly dock long-haul megaships, was recovering to about 54% of its normal level, although export container gate-ins remained under restrictions.
The reopening of Yantian is also expected to take some heat off the nearby ports that have been overwhelmed by the shift of cargo flows.
Nansha’s yard density has reached 100%, according to Maersk.
“We expect continued vessel delays at Nansha port upwards of 4-5 days in the coming week,” it said.
Linerlytica analyst Hua Joo Tan said operations at those Southern Chinese ports were unlikely to return to normal until the middle of July, with the remainder of the backlog needing to be cleared.
There is also little chance that freight rates, which have shot through the roof, fuelled by the port crisis, will ease back down.
“Lines are pushing peak season surcharges in July and they are likely to succeed so I would expect rates to continue to rise,” he said. “However current rates are already very elevated so the average increases will likely be smaller.”