We have previewed for months that port congestion in southern China could be a more severe problem than the shutdown of the Suez Canal in March. Port congestion at Yantian International Container Terminal, a deepwater port in Shenzhen, Guangdong, is operating at 40% capacity and is seeing vessel delays of more than 16 days, significantly impacting exports to the US.
Just outside of Yantian is the Outer Pearl River Delta (OPRD) Area, where the number of container vessels is waiting to access ports on the mainland has hit multi-year highs. At the end of June, 75 container ships were moored in OPRD, surpassing levels from early February of around 35 and about 50 in February 2020. These vessels are waiting for berths to open up at ports.
The congestion has surpassed March’s Suez Canal blockage in terms of container disruption with median wait times around 18 days, according to data from project44.
“From port handling in Yantian alone, the sheer number of containers (not vessels) impacted now exceed the number of containers impacted in Suez,” Lars Jensen, CEO of advisory Vespucci Maritime, said in a post on LinkedIn.