It feels like the beginning of new dawn since Shanghai, one of the busiest ports in the world, announced the upliftment of lockdown restrictions by 20th May 2022. Earlier Shanghai Government affirmed positive results of adhering to their COVID policies. And government ensured that they would lift the city’s restrictions in batches as the epidemic was perpetually exhibiting a positive trend. According to reports published after a press conference on 13th May, Shanghai vice-mayor Wu Qing reportedly confirmed the gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions in the city between 11th to 20th May, nearly after two months ever since the commencement of the lockdown.

Since the announcement, one can hear drum rolls for good news in the shipping industry for refrigerated shipping containers as liner operators have confirmed the reefer container bookings at Shanghai port.

Maersk Line, one of the top 10 container manufacturers worldwide, confirmed the arrival of its first post lockdown reefer container in Shanghai in an advisory. It is expected to arrive by 26th June.
Since Shanghai port is mainly known as China’s financial hub, it has worse affected and impeded the booming trading industry for many articles and products. The stringent lockdown restrictions caused logistics logjams, and the worst affected of all was the food industry. Thus, the announcement for reefer bookings feels like grasping at straws before completely drowning in surmount losses due to the disruption in the supply chain.

Reports by Freight forwarder Geodis confirmed the resumption of reefer bookings and their outbound and inbound operations in Shanghai by less-than-container load (LCL) operators and deconsolidation facilities.

Another noteworthy point is that of Waigaoqiao port. However, all Shanghai terminals have nearly resumed the discharge of imported reefer containers and special cargo containers at 100%. The Waigaoqiao port area is severely affected due to scarce human resources and ships. Shipping terminal #2 is the worst affected of all as the long waiting lines here feel like forever for the shippers.

Since mid-April, Shanghai has published a ‘whitelist’ to allow nearly 2,000 key manufacturers to resume production. This step was a wise measure to avoid complete disruption of the supply chain. These ‘whitelist’ manufacturers have resorted to implementing a so-called “closed-loop” system. This system essentially required workers to stay on-site and not return to their respective houses to avoid contact with the outside world.

However, the ‘whitelist’ has not proved very beneficial in alleviating the degree of the damage inflicted on the global supply chain by disrupted productions. According to a statement made by Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce, in the Hong Kong media, he referred to the number of companies allowed to resume operations is “a drop in the ocean”.

As per the data put forward by The American Chamber of Commerce on 5th May, only 15% of the US shipping companies qualified under the ‘whitelist’. And they were the only ones allowed to resuming operations in Shanghai since the limited cross-city trucking availability was a significant hindrance.

Now that the good news is knocking on our doors, it’s a golden opportunity for shippers to put some brand-new and used shipping containers for sale. Since liner operators are taking reefer bookings, there is a tremendous demand for refrigerated shipping containers, particularly at Shanghai port. So, what are you waiting for then? Now would be a great time to brush off all dust sitting on your reefer containers and bring those babies back into the business!