European ports call for clarity on Shanghai vessel backlog

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Container ships loading and unloading at the Belfast Harbour container terminal on a sunny evening in June 2021

The Federation of European Private Port Companies and Terminals (FEPORT) is calling for clarity on the ever-increasing vessel backlog in Shanghai, China.

The number of vessels waiting outside the Port of Shanghai continues to rise as the city-wide lockdown has slowed down port operations.

FEPORT has expressed its concern that once these ships move on and call at EU ports, the risk of congestion and disruption could be very high.

© FEPORT

“It is very urgent to anticipate and get organised,” said Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid, FEPORT Secretary General.

“Stakeholders representing shipping lines, port authorities, seaport terminals, shippers, freight forwarders, pilots, tug operators, inland transport operators, rail operators, road transport operators, etc. should very soon gather under the patronage of the EU Commission to discuss how we can individually and collectively prepare to avoid a ‘nightmare’ for EU logistics and supply chains, otherwise EU consumers and businesses will be penalised.

“After COVID-19, the Ever Given incident, the congestion in other regions of the world, the lasting low levels of schedule reliability and the consequences of the implementation of sanctions on Russia, EU seaports terminals (employers and employees) cannot be once again the ‘buffer’ absorbing all the shocks and pressure that will result from the situation prevailing in Shanghai.

“We need commitments from all parties to act in order to adapt to the situation that will affect European ports in 8 to 12 weeks from now.

The Chinese National Health Commission recently praised the country’s zero-tolerance strategy towards COVID-19 which is expected to continue over the foreseeable future.

“The dynamic ‘zero-COVID’ approach remains the best option for the country to coordinate epidemic control and economic and social development,” said Li Bin, Deputy Head of the National Health Commission.

On 28 April, the organisation confirmed there was 5,646 locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 across Mainland China. A total of 5,487 of these cases were found in Shanghai.

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