Shanghai port suffering cargo congestion

The ripple impact from steam ship line Alliances launching April 1 and the Hanjin bankruptcy fall 2016 are now impacting Shanghai, the world’s busiest port. Average delays for container ships at Shanghai’s Yangshan deep water port have increased by more than 40 percent since the beginning of April. The congestion could last through May.

More than 100 container vessels are now waiting outside the port, where the average waiting time at berth last week went up 6.2 percent, to 18.2 hours, versus the previous week, according to shipping software provider CargoSmart.

We’ll do our best to keep you updated and recommend work around routes, possibly using the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Port. Read on for background and more information.

About Shanghai’s ports

Shanghai is the world’s busiest sea port with two ports:

  • The “river port” or Waigaoquiao port is the older and smaller, but it is easier to access.
  • Yangshan is the larger, newer deep water ocean port, which requires a drive over the Donghai Bridge.

Yangshan is built on an island and uses reclaimed land. There is no space to expand or store cargo off-site.

Why congestion now?

According to a JOC.com (Journal of Commerce) article, a major forwarder cited three major reasons for the current congestion issues:

  1. Containers from the now defunct Hanjin line are abandoned, taking up space and can’t be used.
  2. The Alliance shuffle, which started April 1, created new service and terminal changes.
  3. There’s been capacity mismanagement of the terminals at Yangshan port. There are some terminals with capacity, but they are not being used due to the new Alliances.

What’s being done to alleviate congestion?

  • Some service lanes have been switched to the Waigaoquiao port, which is older.
  • Carriers are bypassing the port all together however this is causing even more of a jam because there are containers ready to go onto vessels, which are not leaving port.

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