Most of us hoped that with the Lunar New Year ending, operations in China would return to normal. However, not all truck drivers in Shenzhen are ready to put away their concerns and return to work.
According to South China's morning post, there is massive truck congestion on the expressway heading towards Yantian International Container Terminal. Based on reports, several trucks boasted their long trailers without any containers in sight. This congestion reflected only a small portion of the parked trucks, as there is also significant congestion in Dongguan.
With over 15,000 registered trucks and only 2000 having work, electronic products on hold due to a lack of orders from US importers, and many factories moving to Southeast Asia, it is looking dim for the market this year.
Though this is disappointing news, it is not in the least bit unexpected, as China is still trying to recover from its economic decline after three relentless years under their 'Zero-Covid Policy.' According to industry insiders, their export sector is now under tremendous pressure with decreased external demand and rising geopolitical tensions.
For most, not just truck drivers, the stagnant scene at Yantian draws a massive contrast to the booming market in 2021, the peak of Covid, where an empty container was tough to secure, as there was so much cargo to send. But presently, containers gather clean as they possess each accessible space around the port.
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Based on an official statement from one of the port's authorities, this is the highest volume of empty containers the harbor has had since its opening 29 years ago.
The effect of the dry boxes is taking a toll on the container yards, which are also struggling with their primary income relying on cargo loading and unloading. Some yards have even closed their business due to lack of work present.
Global trade trends are a crucial indicator of economic progress, and the current outlook appears bleak, according to Christian Roeloffs, CEO and founder of Container xChange. "The falling rates and increased availability of containers in certain regions of the world indicate weak demand and slower economic growth," Roeloffs said. (credit: Channel News Asia)
A sharp decline in container leasing and purchasing prices have been observed in major Asian ports, such as Ningbo, Shanghai, and Singapore, in recent months, indicating that this trend may continue.
Drewry, a maritime research consultancy, reported that 40-foot containers were 45 percent cheaper in December than 2021.
According to reports, this price will decline for the first 3-9 months of the calendar year before prices rise again.
According to the Freightos Baltic Index, the rate for shipping a 40-foot container from Asia to the west coast of the United States last week was almost back to pre-covid rates.
As for shipping rates, they have fallen by 86 percent on the east coast of the US year over year. In contrast, they have fallen by 80 percent in the north of Europe.