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A carbon-copy of the port congestion and landside disruption seen in China twelve months ago could be on the cards. Last year, most people were at home celebrating the Chinese New Year holiday when the Covid-19 virus first surfaced in Wuhan in January 2020, triggering the first lockdowns across the country.

As a result of the lockdowns, factories came back online after an extended CNY period, thousands of truck drivers were stranded outside major metro areas and container gateways on China’s east and south coasts – their return hampered by quarantine restrictions and transport disruption. Reefer cargo was particularly affected, given the dearth of truck capacity available to pick up and drop off containers.

A similar breakdown in intermodal connectivity in China could be about to unfold after another round of Covid restrictions and manufacturers deciding to keep assembly lines running through the holiday. Experts claim that the situation will “choke factory-port connectivity”, starting in two weeks, adding it will be “a new bottleneck for global shipping and supply chains.” Already, in South China, ports such as Yantian are overflowing with cargo, and truck queues clogging the port’s access roads. The suspension of Pearl River Delta feeder services prior to CNY has also compounded the situation, with forwarders warning of increased costs from the inevitable switch of cargo from river barges to road freight. Port congestion in China has also led to an uptick in rolled cargo by shipping lines.

Source: The Loadstar