China Tightens Restrictions on Vehicles Entering Shenzhen Amid New Virus Cases
(Bloomberg) -- China’s testing of workers and truckers in Shenzhen is spurring concern that the delivery of goods to and from the world’s fourth biggest container port is slowing down.
The city, which shares a border with Hong Kong, has discovered eight Covid-19 cases, according to official state media on Tuesday, triggering mass testing of residents and truckers.
One of the infections was a worker at an international logistics firm, prompting authorities to raise the possibility that the virus was transmitted via imported goods, the Yantian district of Shenzhen said on its website.
China’s policy of swift and extensive lockdowns in response to even small outbreaks has repeatedly stopped the domestic spread of Covid-19, saving lives. However, concern is growing that the country will test consignments and logistics workers for the virus, a move that could add to delays in supply chains.
A queue of container ships is already forming at the Shenzhen port, according to Bloomberg shipping data. About 31 vessels called at the Yantian terminal as of Jan. 9, the most since April 2020. Meanwhile at Shekou terminal, the number of ships has tripled to 18 compared with Jan. 1 when virus checks hadn’t tightened.
“These new hurdles in the supply chain will be aggravating shipping times even more so,” said Michael Farlekas, chief executive officer of supply chain platform E2open. “Retailers need to anticipate seasonal shopping at least 70 days ahead of when they would like to have the product in stores.”
Although the World Health Organization says there’s no evidence of people catching the virus from food and food packaging, China’s testing of foreign food shipments last year held up refrigerated containers at its ports for weeks. The Yantian terminal at Shenzhen, which serves factories manufacturing everything from electronics to plastic toys, was partially closed in May due to a Covid-19 outbreak among port staff, leading to container goods piling up for a month.
Local media footage showed scores of local residents and workers queuing up at testing stations across Shenzhen over the weekend. The city has also suspended bus stations that serve incoming routes, and canceled some inter-provincial ferry services, according to notices from the city’s Transport Bureau.
A suspension of trucking services in several parts of eastern China’s Zhejiang province to combat the virus has slowed the transportation of manufactured goods and commodities through another key port.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.