The two largest ports in China, Port of Shanghai and Zhoushan, experienced unprecedented congestion due to extreme climates and a second wave of the epidemic. At the same time, the ports on the west coast of the US, Los Angeles and Long Beach, also face similar situations.
In late July, due to typhoon In-Fa and the outbreak of the Delta variant virus, most of the ports on the east coast of China, such as Shanghai and Zhoushan, implemented a series of pandemic precautionary measures, requesting crews to take nucleic acid testing. Therefore, container ships were compelled to anchor around the ports, drastically decreasing port productivity.
Data from MarineTraffic, the world’s leading provider of ship tracking and maritime intelligence, indicates the port of Shanghai and Zhoushan is presently suffering from severe congestion.
Additionally, due to congestion in Asia’s supply chain, approximately 30 cargo ships were stuck in San Pedro Bay, not far from Los Angeles and Long Beach. The situation took a turn for the worse when delays in truck transportation and a shortage of railway vehicles further postponed the delivery of imported goods, which hindered the return of empty containers. As a result, the average detention period increased by 35%, causing overall productivity to be reduced by 35%.
According to reports released by Drewry, the capacity of global ports would grow by 2.5% annually and reach a capacity of 1.3 billion TEU in 2025. However, the problem of insufficient investment in ports has emerged and will become a central concern of the shipping industry in the next few decades.