Jun. 24, 2021

Yantian Port Reopens, but Cargo Backlogs Will Take Time to Clear

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The port of Yantian is scheduled to resume full operations today. The container port, the fourth busiest in the world, was partially shuttered due to restrictions after a Covid outbreak at the end of May.

Here’s what the re-opening means for shippers.

Impacts Will Continue

It’s definitely good news that the port is operational again. In 2020, Yantian handled approximately 13.3 million TEU—that would be roughly 36,400 TEU per day, if container flows were consistent.

Flexport estimates up to approximately 700,000 TEU may have been impacted by the closures that ended today.

So, realistically, impacts will continue. In the short term, clearing the backlog could take weeks.

For comparison’s sake, let’s look at the blockage of the Suez Canal on March 23. That catastrophe impacted approximately 330,000 TEU, maybe more if you count the ships diverted around the Cape of Good Hope.

We’re only just seeing relief from those backlogs—around three months later.

How to Deal with Congestion

That means Yantian-related delays may still interfere with holiday-inventory shipments. Action now could translate to a competitive advantage later.

“It’s not too early to secure shipping capacity for Black Friday or other winter holidays,” advises Flexport Senior Trade Lane Manager Nathan Strang. “Let your freight forwarder know your plans now, so that trucking or warehousing can be secured simultaneously.”

In addition to advance bookings, Flexport recommends a few other best practices for dealing with congestion, delays, and unexpected events:

  • Book smaller shipments to get at least some of your goods moving.
  • Explore LCL and OceanMatch services for smarter consolidations.
  • Once booked, stick to the plan to avoid complications or delays.
  • Check with your suppliers for flexibility around cargo-ready dates.
  • Communicate with your freight forwarder about priority shipments.

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