Congestion at container shipping ports in southern China is worsening as authorities step up disinfection measures amid a flare-up in COVID-19 cases, causing the biggest backlog since at least 2019.
As of Friday, more than 150 coronavirus cases had been reported in Guangdong province, a key manufacturing and exporting hub in southern China.
Ports in Guangdong issued notices last week suspending vessels from entering ports without advance reservations. The ports are only accepting bookings for export-bound containers.
Major shipping companies have warned clients of vessel delays, changes to port call schedules, and the possibility of skipping some ports altogether.
As of Friday, more than 50 container vessels were waiting to dock in the Outer Pearl River Delta, where the ports are located, according to Refinitiv data. That compares to around 20 vessels in the same period last year and more than in February 2020, when ports were paralyzed by the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in China.