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China to ease shortage of containers


China will increase the supply of containers and tighten monitoring of the shipping market to further stabilize the rising logistics costs in international trade, a government official said.

Gao Feng, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, said during a news conference that shipments from China have played a vital role in stabilizing global supply chains and sustaining the global economy. However, some countries have been facing logistics issues due to the unequal distribution of containers, he said.

The Commerce Ministry will continue to work with related parties to provide more containers to the market, speed up the turnaround of containers, and help container manufacturers to expand productivity, the official said.

The China Container Industry Association said on Nov 27 that the surge in China’s exports and the low turnaround rate of containers from abroad have triggered an increased demand for containers of China origin since July. The association has urged the manufacturers of shipping containers to ramp up production and ease the shortage of containers.

Chinese container manufacturers have already extended the normal working hours from eight hours to 11 hours, and started making 300,000 twenty-foot equivalent units every month since September.

The association said that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on production in countries around the world and the nearing of Christmas, a peak season for export of Chinese products to Europe and the United States, were part of the reasons for the shortage of containers.

According to the Shanghai Shipping Exchange, the average China Containerized Freight Index stood at 1,198 on Nov 27, up 4.6 percent on a weekly basis. The index tracks spot and contractual freight rates from Chinese container ports for 12 shipping routes across the globe, based on data from 22 international carriers.

Shanghai has handled 238,000 TEU containers through the railway-to-port model in the past 11 months, up 79 percent compared with the same period a year ago, China Railway Shanghai Group said on Wednesday. More than 30,000 containers were handled by this mode in September, a monthly record, it said.

The multimodal transportation of containers by railway and connecting ports is being promoted as more cost-effective, safer and more environment-friendly, the group said, predicting that more than 250,000 containers will be handled through this model this year.

The increased shipping through the new transport model is just one reflection of the rebound in the total container throughputs at ports across China since the country largely controlled the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Shanghai International Port Group, the total throughput of containers in Shanghai Port exceeded 40 million TEUs on Wednesday, marking the fourth consecutive year that the port broke the world record it set in 2017.

Nearly 15.5 million TEU containers were handled at the Tianjin Port from January to October, up 5.6 percent on a yearly basis, Tianjin Daily said in a recent report.

In southern China, the Guangzhou Port Group said it saw a container throughput of 15.8 million TEUs during the first nine months of the year, up by 1.5 percent on a yearly basis.

The surge in exports has also increased shipping rates, and containers in major freight lines have been booked up to 10 to 15 days before the shipping date, according to Guangzhou Daily. Source: China Daily

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