China COVID Lockdown Threatens US Trucking Sector

China COVID Lockdown Threatens US Trucking Sector

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China has put a number of cities again into lockdown due to coronavirus, which might disrupt shipments headed for the U.S.

On Sept. 1, Chengdu turned the nation’s second-largest metropolis to enter lockdown, Shanghai being the largest with its final lockdown occurring in April and Could. Each are port cities. Xinjiang, Guiyang and different cities even have lately been shut down. China has been pursuing a coverage of zero coronavirus circumstances, that means even one detected an infection can set off a lockdown.

“We preserve seeing lockdowns, some are excessive lockdowns, some are lighter,” mentioned Ryan Closser, director of program administration and community collaboration at FourKites. “We’re ebbing and flowing between increased ocean quantity and decrease ocean quantity. However it’s no more than a pair foundation factors every approach, and there appears to be no finish in sight. To not be pessimistic, nevertheless it looks as if there are new lockdowns popping up each single week.”


FourKites reported general dips in import and export ocean cargo quantity as extra cities imposed lockdowns Sept. 14. The Shenzhen port recovered considerably from an earlier drop with volumes rising 12% week-over-week. That metropolis noticed volumes fall 46% week-over-week in a report from Aug. 24. Ningbo-Zhoushan was down 5% week-over-week. Town already noticed its volumes drop 13% week-over-week within the earlier report. Shanghai additionally was impacted regardless of not going again into lockdown; its volumes decreased 15% since a peak in mid-July.

“China exports to the U.S. decreased for the primary time in two years in August, and lockdowns might gradual exports much more,” mentioned Mirko Woitzik, world director of intelligence options at Everstream Analytics. “Exports are additionally anticipated to decelerate forward of Golden Week, a weeklong Chinese language vacation in October that historically shuts down factories throughout the nation. For the reason that begin of the yr, the export quantity of smartphones, house home equipment and semiconductors fell by 10%. Nevertheless, automobile exports elevated by 56%.”

Mirko Woitzik


Closser believes there will probably be a downstream impact on U.S. ports and the trucking business due to the disruptions these lockdowns are inflicting.

“The drayage carriers will decide up on the port and take it to a warehouse,” Closser mentioned. “However then the mainline carriers, the large 3PLs, the large asset-based truckload carriers, they decide it up at that warehouse and so they take it throughout the nation, typically to a number of completely different warehouses within the provide chain. So, there may be going to be a ripple impact, and it’s not simply the drayage carriers or the ports who’re going to expertise this. A lower in import constrained over in China will have an impact all through the availability chain.”

Woitzik believes carriers will take away extra capability from transpacific sailings in response to decrease export volumes from Asia and to stabilize costs. He additionally doesn’t anticipate an import surge post-lockdowns on account of decrease client demand amid retailers dealing with excessive inflation and swollen inventories.

“Asia-U.S. cargo slowdowns might assist ease congestion at crowded port terminals and warehouses, significantly on the U.S. West Coast,” Woitzik mentioned. “Disruptions to service schedules ensuing from lockdowns can restrict empties pickups.

“The U.S. East Coast is at present experiencing extreme congestion at storage services surrounding ports on account of many empty containers. Schedule unreliability prevents carriers from clearing empties backlog at storage services which are at or past capability. This in flip prevents vehicles from returning empty containers on time, resulting in restrictions in chassis availability and better prices for inland transportation corporations.”

Everstream concluded that the financial fallout from the present spherical of lockdowns may not be as vital as the primary half of the yr. It is because Chinese language authorities permit extra manufacturing below a closed-loop administration system during which staff eat, sleep and work in isolation at their office.


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“In each Chengdu and Shenzhen, the Chinese language authorities has appeared extra prepared to make use of much less stringent measures to make it simpler for corporations to take care of manufacturing and proceed enterprise comparable to closed-loop manufacturing,” Woitzik mentioned. “In Shenzhen particularly, the federal government carried out a tiered system: low-, medium- and high-risk. There, individuals can go away residential compounds in low-risk areas however will stay on lockdown in medium- and high-risk areas. This enabled some logistics and transportation companies to nonetheless operate.”

Project44 has been monitoring the lockdowns in addition to different disruptions to transpacific cargo. That features two current typhoons within the area that precipitated solely minor delays in addition to a rise in port congestion on account of world labor strikes. However in the case of the lockdowns, its analysis has discovered the nation is enhancing its strategies for maintaining items shifting.

“There are some ongoing lockdowns in some areas, nevertheless it’s not affecting the ports at this level,” mentioned Josh Brazil, vp of provide chain insights at Project44. “They’ve had numerous lockdowns over the previous couple of years, and what we’ve seen is, basically, an enchancment in the way in which they deal with it.”

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