One in five ships around the world is queuing to offload

One in five ships around the world is queuing to offload Source: Shanghai International Port

The effects of the pandemic continue to be felt throughout the world with shipping particularly hard hit with one in five ships queuing around the world as they wait to offload.

The figures comes from the Windward Consultancy who say at the centre of problem is China with a third of all those queuing, waiting to enter Chinese ports. That means at any one time more than 600 vessels are sitting waiting offshore from China, while another 1,400 sit elsewhere in the world also waiting for a berth.

Waiting times according to Windward and Gocomet, can be up to five days. The delays are said to be adding to the cost of shipping further fuelling inflation worldwide.


The largest port in the world for the last ten years, has seen the number of ships waiting to enter port double over the last week as the local government locks the city down as part of its zero Covid-19 policy. Shanghai accounts for more than a quarter of all China’s exports.


The war in Ukraine has not helped either with some shipping affected by the blockade and sanctions, with figures suggesting that around 14 percent of global shipping crews Ukrainian or Russian.

Road transport

In both China and Eastern Europe the situation is exacerbated by delays in delivering and collecting from ports, creating a backlog of containers that is making it difficult for ports to operate at peak efficiency.

In Shanghai for example containers are sitting in the port for up to ten days before collection, that’s double the usual time. Delays in China affect global trade elsewhere with many key components produced in the country needed to keep manufacturing facilities operating.

Bloomberg has said that it now takes 111 days to ship goods to the US from Asia, the longest delivery time since mid-February and twice as long as in 2019. That is leading to a shortage in some products such as white goods, textiles and electronic components.

Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank (ECB) expressed her concerns at a Washington conference saying that:. “Bottlenecks have contributed to half of the growth in manufacturing prices in the Eurozone.”

She repeated a call to manufacturers and retailers to look elsewhere for suppliers, to reduce dependence on the outside world and prioritise security over efficiency. In making the call she acknowledged that: “The necessary diversification of suppliers from low-cost to higher-cost suppliers will have implications for price dynamics.”

The shipping industry is largely unaffected by the problem as it has been able to cost the delays in as they find one in five ships queuing to offload, but it is at the expensive of industry who are not only paying higher transport prices but who are having to curb production to cope with the delays.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]


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