Container logistics in Yangtze River Delta hit by COVID-19
Published: Apr 06, 2022 09:43 PM
A container terminal of Yangshan Port in Shanghai Photo: VCG

A container terminal of Yangshan Port in Shanghai Photo: VCG

Container transportation service providers in the Yangtze River Delta, one of the world's busiest manufacturing regions that covers Shanghai, are facing disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreaks in the region, though official measures are underway to ensure stable supply chains.

Some services providers told the Global Times that they are dealing with less business, rising costs, delivery delays and other lingering issues, while calling for a further utilization of the control measures such as launching "green channels" that can keep supply chains smooth amid the epidemic controls.

Orders have been reduced by at least 50 percent due to shrinking demand amid the new round of the epidemic in Shanghai, Zhao Yong, a manager with a Shanghai-based supply chain service provider, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

"We are now in a situation where we cannot find enough clients to transfer the rising costs to because of the weakened demand, so we basically have to swallow the extra costs for the time being," Zhao said.

The company is also dealing with others challenges such as the surging costs of crude oil driven by the Ukraine situation.

"Because of the logjams posed by the local epidemic controls, what used to take one day for a return trip between Shanghai and Jiangyin [in East China's] Jiangsu Province, now takes three days for a single trip," Zhao said.

Some places also asked that goods be switched to local trucks in order to continue the delivery process, which adds costs and time, according to Zhao.

The epidemic preventative policies are different from place to place and time to time in the region, making them rather difficult to follow, industry insiders said.

In order to reduce risks and cut costs, some logistics companies have dismissed drivers, the Global Times learned.

The situation has worsened as more cases are reported among truck drivers, who are vulnerable to infection.

On Tuesday, a positive case was found in Ningbo, Zhejiang, who is a truck driver for logistics among cities in the Yangtze River Delta region. Just a day ago, another truck driver was found to be positive after a round of mass testing.

"Currently, the capacity for the logistics industry is tight, but the epidemic situation is easing. We are looking at possibilities to improve transportation procedures such as providing truck drivers with passes," Zhang Guanghe, secretary-general with the China Road Transport Association, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

In response to the need for stricter epidemic controls, drivers of trucks from outside of Zhejiang Province must take both antigen and nucleic acid tests, and provide their identification information for risk control needs, the provincial government said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The State Council, the cabinet, on April 1 issued an emergency notice to coordinate epidemic prevention and control measures affecting road freight transport, while ensuring the transport of key supplies.