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Shanghai airport outbreak disrupts air freight shipments

airport cargo

Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport has shut down its cargo zone after five workers tested positive to Covid.

Neel Jones Shah, executive vice president at  digital freight forwarder Flexport Inc., says airport capcity has been cut by 80-90 per cent.

“We anticipate congestion to continue through the week of August 30, with the hopes we can get back to ‘normal’ by early September,” he says.

“To keep goods moving, Flexport has been trucking significant quantities of client cargo from Pudong to Hong Kong.”

Meanwhile, one of the world’s busiest container ports has fully reopened after a covid-19 outbreak triggered a partial closure.

The Meishan section of China’s Ningbo-Zhoushan port, south of Shanghai, was shut down on August 11 after an employee tested positive for coronavirus. China has pursued an aggressive zero tolerance approach to combating the virus.

Local officials have confirmed all operations have resumed with stringent health protocols in place, but the delays are expected to further pinch container availability and lead to congestion at other Asian ports while the backlog is cleared.

Johannes Schlingmeier, marketplace Container xChange CEO, says a further spike in container prices at Ningbo will be determined by how much cargo was disrupted at the port and whether there will be more shutdowns in the coming weeks.

“Even if there are no additional closures it is likely that container prices will rise on lower availability in the coming weeks due to the lag between liner schedule disruption and container availability and pricing,” Johannes says.

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