Sharp Surge In Port Congestion Foreshadows Shanghai Lockdown

Authorities in Shanghai imposed a strict lockdown on Monday morning, following congestion at the city’s port skyrocketing since early March. With roads, bridges and tunnels between the Pudong and Puxi areas blocked for at least a week, Shanghai International Port Group, which manages the city’s ports, released a statement saying, other than in cases of extreme weather, 24 hour operations would be maintained.

Data from VesselsValue shows an almost five fold increase in the number of ships waiting to load or discharge at Shanghai in the last two and half weeks.

Figure depicting Numbers of Ships Waiting to Load or Discharge at Shanghai.
Figure 1: Numbers of Ships Waiting to Load or Discharge at Shanghai.

As shown in Figure 1, congestion at Shanghai usually worsens at this time of year. However, the recent increase is far higher than both last year and normal seasonal levels. Broken down by ship type, the surge in congestion is driven by Dry Bulk Carriers, followed by Tankers, as shown in Figure 2 below. Conversely, there are six fewer Containerships in the queue than on March 9th.

Graph describing ships waiting to load or discharge at shanghai
Figure 2: Ships Waiting to Load or Discharge at Shanghai, Broken Down by Ship Type.

It is unclear what impact Shanghai’s lockdown will have on the port’s vessel queue, whether it will worsen the backlog or clear it. However, supply chain managers and analysts around the world will need to start planning for knock on effects.

Figure 3: Map of Ships Waiting Outside Shanghai (red denotes laden, green denotes ballast).

Press Release | Vessels Value

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