Ground handling and ramp operations have been hit by a number of Covid crisis cases over recent days that have resulted in carriers cancelling services and diverting flights to other airports.
Supply chain risk analyst Everstream Analytics declared the outbreak took place at ground handling agent Shanghai International Airport Services (SIAS) and authorities implemented sanitation protocols for hundreds of employees.
'Health authorities had detected at least five cases among cargo workers at the airport by August 21, prompting airport authorities to suspend ramp operations that led a number of carriers to suspend freighter flights and cargo-only passenger flights until further notice,' said Everstream.
'PVG remains open to passenger flights with a limited workforce; however, the growing backlog of air cargo shipments and increasingly limited air cargo capacity has prompted multiple freight forwarders to stop accepting bookings bound for PVG and warn of delays for export shipments,' said Everstream.
'Disruptions to cargo operations are expected to continue in the coming weeks as it remains unknown when flight schedules will normalise at PVG. Ongoing limited air cargo capacity will likely further increase spot rates that have already climbed by more than six per cent month over month,' said Everstream.
Freightos data show that since the outbreaks, air cargo rates out of Shanghai have increased 15 to 25 per cent to US destinations and 12 to 15 per cent to airports in Europe.
Flexport global head of air freight Neel Jones Shah declared that ramp capacity and Shanghai is down around 80 to 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,' said Mr Shah.
'It's important to remember that the situation is fluid; we're working closely with our airline partners for updated timelines,' said Mr Shah.
'To keep goods moving, Flexport has been trucking significant quantities of client cargo from PVG to Hong Kong (HKG) in order to meet extra sections of our dedicated charter flights, which were successfully shifted to HKG,' said Mr Shah.
'Other regional airports in mainland China, closer to PVG, have also been impacted by a reduction of ground handling operations and have limited capacity to accept new freighter operations,' said Mr Shah.
'The important thing to remember here is that while this short-term congestion will pass, it's part of a larger cycle of congestion that will compound the 'super peak' we're already in,' said Mr Shah.
'As the holiday shopping season ramps up, companies will have to get creative and be flexible with how and where they move cargo to get goods on shelves and fulfill orders during the most important time of the retail sales cycle,' said Mr Shah.