Recovery in Ocean Shipment Volume at Chinese Ports

FourKites®, a leading real-time supply chain visibility platform, announces that it has seen a recovery in import and export ocean shipment volume at Chinese ports over the past weeks as COVID-19 lockdowns have eased.

Volume at the Port of Shanghai has increased since mid-May, with the 14-day average ocean shipment volume down only 4% compared to 12 March (the day before lockdowns went into effect) for shipments tracked by FourKites. This is up from mid-May, where shipment volume was down as much as 25% over the same period. FourKites has also seen ocean shipment volume increase at some other ports in the region, with the 14-day average volume up 4% at Shenzhen and up 11% at the Port of Hong Kong. Volume at Ningbo-Zhoushan and all other Chinese ports remained relatively stable.

FourKites has seen a recovery in the impacts to U.S. supply chains over the past week. For the first time since the lockdowns began, the 14-day average ocean shipment volume for loads traveling from Shanghai to the United States reached levels seen in mid-March, now up 3% compared to 12 March. Volume along this route had previously reached a low of 43% below levels seen in mid-March. FourKites saw a significant decrease in delays over the past week as well, with the 14-day average percentage of loads delayed now at 28%, down from 37% at the end of May and only 3% above levels seen in mid-March before the lockdowns began.

The average transit times for shipments traveling from Shanghai to the U.S. remained elevated, with the 28-day average transit time now at 73.0 days. This is an increase of 31% compared to 12 March, and an increase of 101% compared to this time last year.

Dwell times for import shipments continue to recover at the Port of Shanghai, with the 14-day average import dwell time now at 6.5 days. This is a decrease of 42% compared to the peak in late April, but is still 87% higher than levels seen in mid-March. Export dwell times at the Port of Shanghai remained elevated, with the 14-day average export dwell time at 7.5 days, a 53% increase over mid-March. Across the rest of China, import dwell times remained relatively stable, while dwell times for exports continued to increase. The 14-day average ocean dwell time at all non-Shanghai Chinese ports is now at 9.7 days, an increase of 34% compared to mid-March.

FourKites has seen over-the-road and rail/intermodal shipment volume recover in Shanghai over the past weeks. The 14-day average shipment volume for loads being delivered to Shanghai is now down only 29% compared to 12 March. In mid-May, over-the-road deliveries to Shanghai were down as much as 88% over the same period.

Commentary from Philippe Salles: “The re-opening of Chinese ports may not be easy in the coming months. It will create constraints on shipping capacity. Sourcing and shipping from Asia will remain challenging in Q3. The influx of cargo into Europe will have to channel through already congested gateways. The efficiency in scheduling and planning will determine the level of extreme difficulties faced by terminal and inland haulage operators which will be felt right up to the end buyer. In the long term shippers will need to invest in technology and skills in order to re-engineer their supply chains to ensure they work efficiently in this new situation.

“It is safe to predict that more lockdowns, especially with rising COVID cases around the world as well as slowdowns coming from weather, economic or political situations will occur. This uncertainty is here to stay for the foreseeable future. So everyone, from shippers to carriers to retailers to customers need to get used to uncertainty as the new normal and learn to be comfortable in this new environment. We will still face high freight rates and transport capacity constraints, but the overall situation should ease. In terms of logistics providers, there will be additional strategic investments made by large carriers and forwarders expanding their footprint, capacity and networks while accelerating their digital transformation. On the demand side, cross-border eCommerce logistics will keep growing at double digit Year-On-Year with a real influence on our future international supply chain models.”

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