Lockdowns in China: Latest Updates and How to Prepare for the Aftermath

Since the pandemic began in 2020, China had placed strict Covid measures to try and eradicate it and maintain a zero-tolerance approach. While things started to improve in 2021 and the restrictions began to be lifted, cases started to rise around March 2022, which prompted these new lockdowns.

We take a broader look into how this all started, the latest updates, and how to prepare for after the lockdowns end.

How This Started

Shanghai is home to the world’s largest container-shipping port and on Monday, March 28 Shanghai began a two-stage lockdown in an attempt to control the country’s worst Covid outbreak since the pandemic began. This two-stage lockdown has been extended until further notice, due to more outbreaks.

Travel restrictions and stay-home measures have had an effect on consumer spending and services, as well as the global supply chain.

Latest Updates

As of April 25, Shanghai’s new infections have dropped, however the strict COVID measures are still in place and continue to impact the global supply chain and logistic operations.

This lockdown in Shanghai has made matters worse for the congestion at ports. Data from Windward, shows that around 20 percent of the world’s container ships are currently waiting outside crowded ports, Fortune reports. In addition, that same data shows the number of container ships waiting outside Chinese ports to be up 195 percent than in February – increasing from 260 in February to 506 in April.

Here are some updates on some of China’s main ports and what the Port/Trucking/Customs/Warehouse Operations look like (for more insights, check out our newsletter):

Shanghai: The terminals at the Ports are maintaining normal operations and laden containers are being allowed to gate in. Furthermore, trucking in Shanghai continues to be an issue, as ALL truckers are required to provide a negative PCR test before being allowed to enter the city. Customs remain normal.

Ningbo: Ports remain normal, but Shanghai truck drivers are being monitored strictly and have tough requirements for drivers who are moving in and out – this has caused the efficiency for trucking to be impacted. In addition, warehouses have been seeing lower operation efficiency because of the require PCR tests. Customs remain normal.

Shenzhen, Xiamen, and Qingdao: The ports, trucking, customs, and warehouse operations remain normal in these areas, as of now.

Beijing: Some of wondering if Beijing will turn into a situation like Shanghai as more cases have started to increase. Beijing will be administering three rounds of PCR testing for all residents in 11 of the city’s 16 districts from April 26th to April 30th. The results of the testing will determine if Beijing will be required to have more strict lockdown requirements, or if the current outbreak will be able to be contained without major disruptions to daily life.

How to Prepare For After The Lockdowns

After having gone through similarities to this situation back in early 2020, people are more prepared and are able to anticipate things a bit better but that doesn’t mean it’s easier to deal with or won’t cause issues.

Additionally, it’s hard to say when these lockdowns will subside, but experts are anticipating more congestion with a surge of exports in May, as a lot of new containers will be hitting the east and west coast. The worrisome thing about more congestion is that USWC ports are already struggling with congestion, labor shortages, and other issues.

Unrelated to the lockdowns but still of importance – The whole country will be shut down from Saturday, April 30 through Wednesday, May 4 for its May Day Holiday. Work will resume on Thursday, May 5. We encourage you to work closely with your forwarder during this time and to make sure you are planning accordingly.

Going Forward

If you would like more information regarding this topic, contact our team at InterlogUSA and we will be happy to assist you on any questions or comments you may have! Our team discussed this topic (and more), in our April webinar. If you would like to take a listen, please click here. In addition, we have our weekly market updates that can provide you with relevant freight news, updates, developments across the industry, and more.

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