Container deluge expected as China shipping reopens

Thousands of delayed containers are expected to flood the market during the (northern hemisphere) summer, as lockdown measures around Shanghai are eased.

According to a report in The Loadster, approximately 260,000 teu (twenty-foot equivalent unit), of unshipped container cargo will return to the market once restrictions are lifted, adding further stress and capacity reduction to the already congested global shipping industry.

The report cites new analysis from Drewry, which says the equivalent of up to ‘26 fully loaded 10,000 teu containerships’ of cargo went unshipped during April, and which will need to be transported in the months ahead.

Drewry said: ‘The greatest uncertainty is when China’s lockdown restrictions will end, and the “bullwhip” impact this will have across the supply chain. Liner shipping schedules will also take at least one rotation to normalise. This would mean that, even if lockdowns were to end today, the predictability and capacity of the container distribution system would be jeopardised during summer peak season.’

In a recent survey by Container xChange, more than half of forwarders, traders and shippers said they expected this year’s peak summer season to be ‘even more chaotic’ than in 2021.

Photo by Tom Fisk

Send this to a friend