Port congestion worsens as Omicron variants exacerbate global supply chain crises

Supply bottlenecks are expected to continue until later this year, according to experts.

The outbreak of Omicron exacerbated traffic congestion around the world, affecting major Chinese and US ports. Experts predict that supply chain bottlenecks will continue at least until later this year.

As the wave of new outbreaks of COVID-19 spreads in China, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials have begun mass lockdowns and tests, boosted by the central government’s “zero COVID” policy. As a result, major manufacturers closed their factories, causing labor shortages and blockages at the harbor. Economists warn that the potential impact of the current pandemic can be alarming as more difficult bottlenecks can surface in the future.

Bloomberg On January 13, after the COVID-19 outbreak in China’s port city of Ningbo, shipping companies ordered cargo ships to call Shanghai to avoid delays and reported that they caused overcrowding at the world’s largest container port. did. Meanwhile, Ningbo, the world’s third-largest container port, has stopped part of its freight transport, and some ships have moved south from Ningbo to another port city, Xiamen.

Freight carriers said the influx of vessels into Shanghai could postpone container vessels in Shanghai for about a week, affecting ports in the United States and Europe that were already delinquent.

In the United States, the world’s largest consumer markets, Los Angeles and Long Beach in California, are the two busiest ports. 40 percent Enter the country among the shipping containers of the country. The number of vessels moored at the two ports barometer Measures global supply chain disruptions.

according to Maritime trafficOn the online vessel tracking website, 198 container vessels were moored outside the two ports on January 13, local time, and another 162 were about to dock.

In October 2021, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia faced unprecedented shipment delinquency in Long Beach and Los Angeles due to the global COVID-19 outbreak, with a number of major production changes. We have already stated that it is exacerbating the decade-long supply chain challenges. .. At that time, more than 50 container vessels were counted as waiting for unloading outside the two ports, a record high.

Inflationary pressure

Transportation accounts for at least 90 percent of the world’s commodities. Due to the congestion of the port, sea shipping costs have skyrocketed over the past year.

According to the transportation consulting service provider, the World Container Index for the week ending January 20 reports that transportation costs increased 1.6% to $ 9,698.33 per 40-foot container, an increase of 82% year-on-year. .. Drury.. In addition, fares from Shanghai to Los Angeles rose 5% or $ 576 to $ 11,197, and fares from Shanghai to New York rose 2% or $ 216 to $ 13,987 per 40-foot container.

America Consumer price index According to the latest data from the US Department of Labor, it increased by 7% year-on-year in December 2021. This is the fastest growth since June 1982. Strong consumer demand is exacerbating supply shortages.

Also in 2021 U.S. wholesale inflation Soared at a record pace. In November last year, the producer price index rose 9.8% year-on-year. This is the largest rise since the government began editing this data in 2010.

“The shipping industry and experts generally believe that supply chain bottlenecks are very unlikely to be alleviated this year,” said Frank Tian Xie, a professor at the University of South Carolina at Aiken, on January 13. Next year. Therefore, I think that the inflation problem in the United States will not be solved immediately. “

He said port congestion is causing logistics stagnation, rising global energy and food prices and increasing inflationary pressures.

“The epidemic has led to strict restrictions in many countries, including the United States,” Xie said. “As a result, many dock workers and truck drivers are no longer able to go to work. However, as countries begin to recover their economies, the purchasing power of the people has recovered significantly, and China and others. Demand for products from Asian countries will increase significantly. “

The United States is likely to diversify its supply chain

Dr. Hua Chia-cheng, an economist at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, told The Epoch Times on January 13 that the key to alleviating ongoing supply chain disruptions is whether the global epidemic will stabilize and subside. He said it depends on him. He predicted that the turmoil could last at least until the second half of the year.

He also noted another long-term impact of the pandemic in that the majority of countries, including the United States, are now considering excessive reliance on China’s supply chain.

“To avoid the risk of a similar crisis reoccurring, the world will diversify the industry to ensure a reliable supply chain,” Hua said.

In the medium to long term, he said, the US government may consider changing its supply chain to produce essential products such as masks and medicines domestically.

Joyce Liang contributed to this report.

Frank Yue


Frank Yue is a Canadian-based journalist in The Epoch Times, featuring news related to China. He also holds a Master’s degree in English and Literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University in China.

Winnie Han


Winnie Han reports on the Chinese news of The Epoch Times.