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Empty containers accumulate in Chinese ports

By February 22, 2023April 19th, 2023No Comments

Within a space of a year, the catch-phrase in the liner industry has gone from “containers are hard to come by” to concerns of a container glut, as freight levels reverse to pre-Covid-19 lows.

Chinese netizens have been posting photos of the country’s busiest ports, namely Shanghai and Yantian (Shenzhen), overflowing with empty containers.

Local media has also reported that orders for manufactured goods for many Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises and exporters have plunged, sending them to the verge of bankruptcy. This trend was highlighted when a Vietnamese shoe factory owned by Taiwanese group Pou Chen, had to cut 6,000 jobs after falling orders from major sportswear companies Nike and Adidas.

According to the data released by the Shanghai Shipping Exchange on 11 February, the recovery of Chinese exports after the Chinese New Year holiday has not been satisfactory.

This has filtered through to container freight levels, and the balance between shipping supply and demand is not ideal.