Maersk has reported that shipments into China have declined after new restrictions imposed on foreign waste started to come into effect this month.
The new rules are delaying cargo ships laden with paper for recycling as they are unable to move from Hong Kong’s waters.
Maersk Line, the world’s largest shipper of containers, said it has seen a drop in waste cargo into China.
A Maersk spokeswoman in Hong Kong told Reuters: “While it’s too early to understand the full impact, we do see an impact on volumes of waste imports into China.
“However we expect some measure of rebound as exporters adapt to the new regulations.”
The ban on foreign waste was announced in July 2017.
China previously allowed the imports because it created extra supplies of metals and materials in short supply for use in the domestic market, but officials say the problems created far outweigh the benefits.
In a customer notice on September 26, 2017, German container shipper Hapag-Lloyd, the world’s fifth largest container line, said it would stop accepting cargoes of scrap plastic and waste paper from Europe, the US and Asia due to arrive at Chinese ports after December 31, 2017.
While China indicates it will impose an outright ban on mixed waste paper, a final decision isn’t expected until November.
For now, authorities have tightened requirements on waste paper to markedly cut back on allowed levels of contaminants, making it difficult for many recyclers to meet.