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May 01, 2017

Increasing imports add to port congestion in China, says Drewry

According to market analyst Drewry, port congestion at China's major ports is a symptom of many factors. One of them is the fast growing inbound trade.

Chinese ports are currently encountering a nasty bout of congestion brought on by a number of coalescing factors. Bad weather, the restructuring of alliance networks, ever bigger ships and shippers' eagerness to move cargo ahead of planned rate increases have all been mentioned in dispatches as the reasons why ships are being kept waiting outside ports and for slower than usual turnarounds.

In its Container Insight Weekly, Drewry notres that another, more mundane, factor is simply that they are struggling under the weight of extra business. China's top 10 ports collectively experienced a 6% year-on-year jump in throughput in the first quarter of 2017. It's unlikely to be a coincidence that the ports facing the worst of the congestion registered the biggest gains: Qingdao (12%); Shanghai (10%) and Ningbo (9%).

Drewry says its is starting to see a shift in its data series where imports to Greater China outpaced exports in 2016; the inbound trade from Drewry's sample of trades was growing by 2.3% year-on-year versus 0.5% for the outbound market, in the process lowering the export-to-import ratio.

Source: Drewry Shipping Consultants