Key ports see freight volumes drop as latest lockdowns bite

2 November 2022

Import and export volumes at Chinese ports have slipped over past weeks as cities start to impose new Covid-19 lockdowns, according to data from supply chain tracking platform FourKites.

Glenn Koepke, general manager of network collaboration at FourKites, said on 14 October average ocean shipment volumes of imports and exports from the Port of Shanghai had fallen 15% since the start of the month.

At Shenzhen volumes were down 21% over the same time period.

And at Ningbo-Zhoushan – where increasingly strict lockdowns were reported in October – volumes were down 29% compared to the start of October.

FourKites’s figures revealed the 14-day average volume for shipments travelling from China to the US was down 17% compared to the beginning of October. Transit times for ocean freight between China and the US are also climbing, while shipment delays have increased.

The figures indicate what many analysts were already assuming – that vows by Chinese premier Xi Jinping to double down on Beijing’s zero-Covid policy would impact global supply chains once cases were discovered in key port cities.

The data comes shortly after workers were reported to have broken out of Apple's largest iPhone assembly factory in China to escape impending lockdowns after Covid-19 cases were discovered at the plant.

Videos showing about 10 people jumping a fence outside the Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou were shown on social media.

Many were reported to be seeking to flee the compound on foot as public transport in the city had been suspended due to Covid-19 controls.

Zhengzhou, the capital of China's Henan province with a population of 10m, has seen 167 locally-transmitted infections this week – up from 97 the week before, according to Reuters.

Foxconn has stated it would not stop workers leaving its plants. The company said it was maintaining normal production levels.

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