Yantian crisis ‘continues to deteriorate’ as shippers omit port calls

Morning sunlight in a busy Yantian Port

The ongoing crisis surrounding a COVID-19 outbreak at the Port of Yantian continues to escalate as delays of upwards of 16 days are expected for vessels at the port.

Major shipping lines including Ocean Network Express (ONE) and A.P Moller Maersk (Maersk) have provided daily updates on supply chain impacts at the world’s fourth largest port.

On 10 June ONE announced that several vessels will be omitting usual calls at Yantian and Shekou to minimise schedule disruption.

ONE is the first carrier to note that the omitted port calls could lead to a shortage in reefer plug availability in other locations.

“ONE may need to adjust the original transportation plan for reefer shipments to Yantian port,” the shipping line wrote in a statement.

“This may result in extended period of storage of inbound reefers at transshipment port or the discharge of reefer containers at an alternative port without prior notice.

“In an effort to minimise loss and inconvenience, wherever operationally feasible, ONE shall endeavour to arrange onward transportation from the alternative discharge port to the originally intended destination subject to reefer plug availability.”

ONE has also decided to apply a congestion surcharge of $1,000 per container to cover additional costs for rearranged shipments and plug-in charges.

In Maersk’s latest update on 10 June, the situation “continues to deteriorate” as more positive COVID cases have been confirmed in Shenzhen where Yantian Port and Shekou Port are located and in Guangzhou where Nansha Port is located.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation and are doing our best to mitigate the impact on your supply chain where possible,” the company wrote.

“Due to further measures being implemented, increased congestion and vessel delays upwards of 16 days are expected in Yantian port.”

At Yantian International Container Terminal (YICT), Maersk wrote that operation in the eastern area of the terminal where mother vessels mainly berth continues to experience productivity at just 30% of its normal levels.

“Due to aforementioned disruptions, we regret to inform you that 64 vessels including our partners vessels have omitted the Port of Yantian and Shekou in order to protect schedule reliability,” the company added.

“Our people are working relentlessly with the contingency plan which covers 49 vessels for origin export shipments. Import laden containers on the omitted vessels are expected to delay for over three weeks.”

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