A spate of lockdowns in Shanghai and other Chinese cities is piling severe pressure on transport and logistics across the country, exacerbating the economic fallout of the government’s commitment to its zero-Covid policies as cases continue to soar to record levels.
The disruption has affected the trucking industry in particular, which plays a critical role in transporting goods between cities and to some of the world’s biggest ports but is now subject to severe restrictions on drivers and deliveries to locations with positive cases.”Trucking is the main issue we have,” said Mads Ravn, executive vice-president and global head of air freight procurement at DSV, one of the world’s largest freight brokerages. He added that booking truck services was close to impossible and that flight activity into Shanghai Pudong airport was just 3 per cent of its rate last month, with air cargo shipments limited to essential goods such as medicine.
“Basically everything else is not moving but is being diverted away from Shanghai to other parts of China. It’s affecting every commodity you can think of,” he said. “It will have a global effect on almost every trade.”
China is grappling with its worst coronavirus outbreak since it first emerged in Wuhan more than two years ago. Shanghai reported nearly 20,000 new cases on Thursday, a record for the city.
Maersk, the Danish shipping company, warned in late March that the city’s lockdown measures would reduce trucking services in and out of Shanghai by 30 per cent.
But since then, restrictions, which were initially supposed to cleave the city in two for a staggered nine-day lockdown, have grown more severe and overrun, enveloping the whole city at once. It is unclear when the measures will be relaxed.