|Cranes and containers are seen at the Yantian port in Shenzhen, following the COVID-19 outbreak, Guangdong province, China, May 17, 2020. (File photo by= REUTERS/Martin Pollard)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] BEIJING: Congestion at container shipping ports in southern China is worsening as authorities step up disinfection measures amid a flare-up in COVID-19 cases, causing the biggest backlog since at least 2019, Reuter reported.
More than 150 coronavirus cases have been reported in Guangdong province, a key manufacturing and exporting hub in southern China, since the latest wave of cases struck in late May, triggering local governments to step up prevention and control efforts that have curbed port processing capacity. Ports in Guangdong, including Yantian, Shekou, Chiwan and Nansha, have issued notices this week suspending vessels from entering ports without advance reservations, and will only accept bookings for export-bound containers within three to seven days prior to the arrival of vessels.
Major shipping companies have warned clients of vessel delays, changes to port call schedules, and the possibility of skipping some ports altogether. The world's leading container line Maersk on Thursday increased the duration of expected delays at Yantian to 16 days from 14 days previously. Exporters said the impact has been limited so far, as loading delays and slow deliveries have hampered logistics chains since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sales manager's company had to pay extra fees to deliver products to ports near Shanghai to meet a client deadline.