The shipping industry has been going through a lot in the last several months, and while it’s felt like we’re mostly getting out of the weeds with COVID in the U.S., the same is not true overseas.
Businesses are scrambling to restock their inventory and prepare for the upcoming holidays, however, inventory-to-sales ratios are remaining incredibly low. The demand for imports to the U.S. is high, but the Delta COVID variant is threatening the chance of those needs being met.
Most product imports to the U.S. come from China (and Asia in general,) which is also where the Delta variant is spreading rapidly. In the U.S., the chances of another major nation-wide lockdown remain incredibly low, however, the same is not true in China. China and many other Asian countries are renown for instituting lockdowns with even low case numbers, and the threat of a potentially much more dangerous COVID strain going around the country poses a serious threat to production and ocean port activity.
Greater Threat Than June Lockdowns
Anyone working with overseas cargo coming from China was well-aware of the COVID outbreak at the port of Yantian in June. COVID hit port workers hard and the port was shutdown until it could be properly staffed and workers were guaranteed to be safe.
This reduction in activity lead to a nice break for Long Beach/LA ocean ports as they struggled to play catch up with several steamship lines anchored off shore awaiting docking and unloading. However, the relief was short-lived as all the cargo awaiting departure from Yantian was resumed in full-strength as the port was re-opened.
The thing to note here is that the increase in Delta variant COVID, as well as its effects on the health and well-being of those who contract it is much more extreme than the COVID spread that happened in June. It’s been reported that 17 of China’s 22 providences are seeing spikes in Delta variant COVID contractions.
Major lockdowns and citizen COVID testing have taken place in several Chinese providences already. While it has certainly had major implications on production, workers, and daily life for residents of those communities, the shipping industry has remained largely untouched by the recent Delta COVID variant case spikes. However, that most likely won’t last long.
Reports indicated Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam have all been hit hard in the last several months. Indonesia is in a full lockdown as they experienced record high COVID numbers and deaths last month. If you’d like to start a conversation, please don’t hesitate to just reach out to one of our team members! We’d love to answer any of your questions regarding the outbreaks potential effect on your logistics process.