Cargoes again stranded at Chinese ports due to Covid-19 measures

4 February 2021 –

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to develop globally, China repeatedly reported the discovery of Covid-19 virus in imported frozen food packaging and has strengthened testing for this matter. As a result, large volumes of fruits and other cargoes are stranded in Dalian Port, putting more pressure on the shortage of refrigerated containers and threatening the global supply chain.

Freight forwarders, consulting companies, and shipping companies reported that hundreds of containers were stranded at the import port in Dalian because the local supervisory authorities had to test fish products before allowing customs clearance. However, there were not enough power outlets to ensure that the refrigerated containers remained cooled, and the declining port space has led carriers to cancel reservations for new refrigerated containers entering Dalian. As refrigerated containers were diverted to other ports in China, Shanghai and Qingdao ports also experienced congestion.

Josh Brazil, COO of cargo data provider Ocean Insights said that if the port does not have electrical outlets for refrigerated containers and food cargo cannot be re-diverted to other ports, these cargoes may be damaged or entirely lost. The report pointed out that the situation in Dalian is reminiscent of what happed at the beginning of last year when the pandemic had just broken out. At the time, China and many other countries implemented control measures or closed ports so ships were unable to unload cargo. This led to a shortage of shipping vessels around the world, and the chain effect lasted for many months.

Ralph Leszczynski, research director of shipbroker Banchero Costa & Co., said, “China may be the only country in the world that claims that Covid-19 can be transmitted through frozen food, which may greatly affect the waiting time of containers at ports.” According to the WHO, there is no evidence that humans can be infected with the virus through food or food packaging. Dalian Port, China Customs, and other relevant parties did not respond to this matter.

Do you need Help? Get in touch.

Feel free to contact TNETS for information on any matter related to customs or trade compliance. We're here to help!