Shanghai cargo operations affected by COVID-19 lockdowns

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Shanghai and its air traffic continues to be a victim of the staggered lockdown that the city is currently undergoing. City officials are trying it all to contain one of the biggest waves of COVID-19 since the pandemic started. And on that list, now it’s the turn of cargo to be affected by the closures.

The eastern half of the city is completely shut down for the moment and it will remain like that until April 1, while the western side was told to quarantine at home until April 5 while they conduct mass testing of the area. All public transport is stopped and the public is effectively stuck at home.

Many factories are scaling down their activity or shutting down altogether due to the manpower shortages derived from the lockdowns. Getting goods to and from the Airport is a complex task. There are no trucks or staff to handle the cargo, and while both airports in the city, Shanghai Pudong and Shanghai Hongqiao are still working their capacity is very reduced and left for mostly passenger flights.

All of the roads to Shanghai Pudong Airport are closed to freight operators because of the lockdown. When the lockdowns are lifted, all trucks on the road will need a certificate of a negative COVID test within 48 hours. Without one, the trucks won’t be allowed to cross into other provinces which will disturb even further the logistics of the cargo movement in the area. 

Logistics providers are trying to determine what’s possible for them to do during the lockdown, although big players like Cargolux are bowing out altogether, waiting for the lockdowns to be over to resume business as usual. The restrictions have impacted traditional carriers like Cathay Pacific, who is a major freight mover in the area and has seen their operations go down to almost zero as a result of the lockdowns in Shanghai and its hub in Hong Kong.

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    By: Alfonso Vázquez

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