Report: Typhoons Add to Congestion at South Korean Ports

Container terminals at the port of Busan (file image)

Published Sep 10, 2020 10:17 PM by The Maritime Executive

According to DHL's in-house supply chain analysis consultancy, Resilience360, the effects of two back-to-back typhoons are adding to congestion at the South Korean ports of Busan and Gwangyang.

Typhoon Haishen made landfall northeast of Busan on September 7 with winds of 85 miles per hour, the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane. No fatalities were reported in South Korea, but the storm's winds and flooding caused extensive damage.

On September 3, Typhoon Maysak made landfall just southwest of Busan with winds of 100 miles per hour. At least one person was killed in the storm and 2,000 were forced to evacuate.

In addition to damage on shore, the storms disrupted shipping and forced temporary closures at Busan and Gwangyang. The two container ports had increased waiting times for inbound vessels following Typhon Maysak, and the consultancy expected that waits could rise after Haishen as well. In China, the ports of Shanghai and Ningbo were also affected by temporary closures, likely increasing congestion. 

"Over the coming days, while most of the affected manufacturing plants may come back online, logistics delays are likely to continue for longer at key ports in South Korea and China where it may take up to two weeks to return to normal operations [if] the weather remains stable," the consultancy wrote.

The delays come as importers in the U.S. and Europe are gearing up for the holiday season and restocking after the COVID-19 shutdown. Import volumes in the United States have skyrocketed in the past two months, outpacing expectations for recovery.