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China Says it is Taking Steps to Ease Shortage of Containers

China says it will take steps to ease container shortage
Shanghai handled 40 million TEUS in the first 11 months of 2020 Chinese officials said

Published Dec 4, 2020 6:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

Responding to the ongoing reports of a shortage of containers and the shipping industry’s struggle to manage the supply of containers, China’s state-run media is reporting that China is taking steps to ease the shortage of containers. The officials cited a surge in China’s exports and the low turnaround rate of containers from aboard as the causes for the increased demand for containers. They also noted that it is the peak season for exports to Europe and the United States, which is also contributing to the shortage of containers.

Speaking at a news conference, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Commerce said that steps are being taken to increase the supply of containers. They said that China 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 state media noted that the China Container Industry Association is urging shipping container manufacturers to increase the production of the standard boxes. They reported that China has produced 300,000 TEUs per month since September to help ease the shortage. Chinese container manufacturers have reportedly extended their normal working hours from eight hours to 11 hours a day.

The growth of shipments from China, the officials said, has been sustaining the global economy and helping to stabilize global supply chains. They cited a 79 percent year-over-year increase at Shanghai in railway-to-port multimodal transportation of containers as an example of China’s growth in throughputs and efforts to support global trade.

According to Shanghai International Port Group, the total throughput of containers in Shanghai Port exceeded 40 million TEUs as of the end of November, marking the fourth consecutive year that the port broke the world record it set in 2017. Also, they reported a better than five percent increase in container volume in 2020 at the Tianjin Port and a container throughput of 15.8 million TEUs during the first nine months of the year in southern China according to the Guangzhou Port Group.

The surge in exports the Chinese officials said has also resulted in increased shipping rates. As a result, they said China would “tighten monitoring of the shipping market to further stabilize the rising logistics costs in international trade.”

Some countries the officials recognized have “been facing logistics issues due to the unequal distribution of containers.” The Chinese efforts they reported would ease the shortage of containers to ensure that they maintained the recovery in global supply.