Global Shipping Situation: China Port Faces Substantial Backlog

According to a WSJ article, published June 22, 2021, the Yantian port in Southern China is facing a series of obstacles in exporting goods to Western nations. The issues began in late May when a COVID-19 outbreak, believed to be the Delta variant, caused government officials to shutdown Guangdong province, where the Yantian port is located. Yantian port is a major export gateway for some of the most widely used consumer products like electronics, furniture, and home appliances. Around 50 container ships remain backed up around the Yantian port, along with 350,000 containers sitting around on docks waiting to be loaded. Logistics and container operation executives state that the backlog is slowly easing up from where it was a month ago, but the upcoming holiday season will likely be affected by the current situation. Merchandise shortages, rising prices, and longer lead/wait times are a few ways this holiday shopping season will likely be different for consumers compared to years past.

The price to ship a 40-foot-container by sea from China to U.S. West Coast ports have risen by 57% compared to the start of the year and up 386% compared to January 2020. Retailers and manufacturers are finding no other option but to raise the prices of their merchandise, as this huge rise in shipping costs is simply too much for companies to absorb. Many believe that consumers should expect their Christmas shopping lists to come up short due to monetary strain and unavailability of merchandise.

A lot of pieces need to fall into place in order for the global supply chain to see recovery. Even if the issues in Yantian port get resolved soon, there is still the issue of backlogs in offloading ports like Los Angeles and Long Beach. COVID-19 variants that have led to rise in cases, like in Guangdong province, and the holiday season has given the situation little room to improve, making it unlikely we will see a return to somewhat normal conditions in the global supply chain in 2021. EdisonReport will continue to monitor the situation and inform our readers on any significant updates.

Below you can read our previous articles on the global shipping situation:
Update on the Global Shipping Situation: 22 Ships Waiting Outside of LongBeach/LAX
The Global Supply Chain Continues to Struggle with Demand

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