Date: 27.02.2020

China‘s long road back

China’s factories have begun the struggle to restart after an extended Chinese New Year holiday, complicated by the travel and quarantine restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.

Transport limitations across the country and a 14-day quarantine on returning workers has kept many factories closed or at limited capacity .

With the exception of Hubei province, businesses and transport are gradually returning, with estimates of 80% of factories opened in some capacity in Tianjin, Dalian, Shanghai and Qingdao and up to 50% production in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, with many struggling to function without key personnel.

The outbreak, slow pace of business resumption and its impact on the global economy dominated discussions at this weekend’s G20 meeting in Riyadh, though Chinese delegates did not attend as they focus on efforts to limit the fallout.

Even when factories do get enough workers reporting, the transportation of supplies and finished goods will be a major headache.

The resumption of road transport will be slow and will curb production in the coming weeks, with insufficient drivers and a plethora of road closures and checkpoints slowing down traffic.

The signs locally are that the situation is easing, but total recovery might take till the end of the month.

The shortage of workers at Chinese ports has resulted in fewer calls from container shipping lines, a situation likely to result in supply chain disruption, while the shipping lines reintroduce calls and the terminals work through the backlog of stacked containers in their yards.

Most air passenger services and some air cargo services have been cancelled or reduced in response to health concerns and lack of demand, slashing the amount of available air freight volume..

The air carriers can reintroduce their services relatively swiftly, which means that additional volumes of belly-hold and freighter space will be available, but demand and rates are likely to remain high for some time.

When standard air freight rates start to rise, Sea Air is an extremely effective solution for time-sensitive cargo that has a little slack on transit times.

For importers that want to get their cargo out of China as swiftly as possible, Metro use smaller feeder vessels of about 2,300 teu to bypass the mega-ships and terminals, many of which are filled with container stacks from the blanked sailings.

Tran-shipping to capture the speed of air freight is completed with hours at our dedicated Singapore hub, offering reliable, secure and flexible intermodal freight solutions from just US$2.00 per kilo (subject to conditions) from origin to destination, with transit times from 11 days.

The Long Road by Corey Leopold is licensed under CC