Pandemic and crisis in the port industry and foreign trade

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted world economies and the effects continue to be seen. Currently, there are delays in shipping activity, which have strong global implications for international trade.

Impact of the coronavirus on international trade

Although vaccines are reducing international mortality from Covid-19, the problems in foreign trade have not ended. The Delta strain of the coronavirus recently affected a worker at the Ningbo-Zhoushan port in China, this port being the third most important on the planet for cargo transportation. This has caused its operations to be reduced by the outbreak of infections generated.

Reportedly, year-end entries could be delayed. The outbreak impacts both supply chains before Black Friday and the Christmas season, as well as all shipments from China to the East Coast of the United States.

Prices are already at their record high. The average value of freight to Los Angeles from China has already exceeded $ 10,000 per teu. The response from the affected port has been to refer the companies to other terminals. However, this was not enough, since the situation reduced the loading capacity of the different containers by a quarter.

The future of shipping

Maritime transport in general has been going through a major crisis. It is estimated that the port situation will continue to be difficult globally for a while, especially due to the shortage of trucks and rail cars, the lack of personnel in both warehouses and crews, among other factors.

Among the problems that stand out as causes of this situation, it is worth mentioning the excess of containers in the terminals that cause a reduction in the space to work in the arriving ships. Second, the shortage of labor to work on ships is mentioned. The presence of containers in closed lanes that do not exit fast enough to free up space. And, finally, the lower productivity of Chinese companies due to circulation limitations.

Problems in American ports

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have also been experiencing problems. Recently, 71 vessels were counted waiting to berth in these ports. About 40 vessels were also counted at the anchorage and between 20 or 30 adrift. As the docks are too congested, the terminals cancel the crews to wait for the dock to clear. Thus, the biggest problem that the ports in southern California are having are related to the berths, the lack of manpower and the lack of port capacity.

According to specialists, foreign trade has suffered a string of problems and bad news in recent times and it is expected that the sector will take time to recover, despite the economic reopening at the international level.

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