Maersk warns delay due to huge backlogs at Chinese ports

Southern China is home to some of the world’s busiest container ports but recent outbreaks of the coronavirus have seen canceled flights, blocked communities, stopped trade along the coastline, and surged cases of COVID-19. These obstacles cause shipping delays and Maersk is warning clients about delays, changes in shipping routes, and soaring prices, Ohio Newstime reports.

Maersk is the world’s largest container shipping company and shipping operator and the company last week announced that ships could be delayed for at least 16 days in Yantian district, one of the nine districts of the city of Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.

To tackle the congestion in Southern China, Maersk is also trying to divert some carriers to alternative ports, but it doesn’t always solve the problem. Maersk warned that in places like Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and other ports in Hong Kong, waiting times could be longer due to the flood of more ships.

Another region in the Guangdong province struggling with backlogs is the Pearl River Delta where more than 50 container ships on Thursday morning were waiting. There are concerns about operational obstacles in Shioda alone and Lars Jensen, CEO of Danish consultancy Vespucci Maritime estimates that the port has been unable to handle around 357,000 20-foot container loads since late May.

This is more than the total volume of cargo affected by the six-day closure of the Suez Canal in March.

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