Some container lines are diverting ships to nearby ports or skipping the Yantian port call, throwing another disruption in the mix amid surging imports to North America and low ocean reliability, according to IHS Media.
The surge in cases led to a five-day halt that began Thursday last week in the terminal accepting laden export containers, causing widespread traffic congestion in the Yantian area. While the ban was lifted midnight local time Monday, port productivity is still suffering as dock workers suspected of having the virus have quarantined and those still working are in smaller gangs.
'Yantian is continuing to carry out operations as much as possible but only using about 30 per cent of full capacity,' said Roberto Giannetta, managing director of the Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association. 'It is likely that it will take another week or so to get back to normal.'
Maersk told shippers in a Monday customer advisory to expect seven to eight days of vessel delays. Around 40 container ships were waiting to berth at YICT as of Monday.
Until June 6, YICT will only accept export laden containers via an appointment app and within three days of a vessel's scheduled arrival. Anticipating some shift of cargo exports to other ports, Shekou Container Terminal, on the western side of Shenzhen, said it would introduce an appointment app Tuesday that only allows laden container gate-in exports within five days of vessel departure.
Horace Lo, group managing director of Hong Kong's Modern Terminals, said Hong Kong operations 'remain normal while DaChan Bay Terminals remain open with strict precautionary measures.' DaChan Bay, north of Shekou, is controlled by Modern Terminals.
While YICT has resumed accepting export cargo it is still working towards getting official approval to restart normal operations. A YICT spokesman said it is working with the local Shenzhen government to resume full operations as soon as possible.
Hapag-Lloyd is diverting services on the western side of the Pearl River estuary near Guangzhou, which is about 95 miles from YICT. The Ocean Network Express (ONE) said it is considering diversions to nearby ports.