COVID-19 Outbreak at Shanghai Pudong Airport Disrupts Critical Export Shipments

COVID-19 Outbreak at Shanghai Pudong Airport Disrupts Critical Export Shipments

As of August 24, cargo operations at a terminal of Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG), the world’s third busiest airport by cargo traffic, remained suspended for a fifth consecutive day following a new COVID-19 outbreak among the workforce. The outbreak took place at ground handling agent Shanghai International Airport Services (SIAS), which handles operations for major cargo carriers including Air China, Qatar Airways, and Cathay Pacific, with significant delays and backlog expected over the coming days as airport authorities implemented sanitation protocols for hundreds of employees. The closure at PVG has already led Japanese car maker Mazda to suspend operations at its plants in Hiroshima and Yamaguchi due to disrupted supplies of in-vehicle components using semiconductors. 

While delays have been reported at several airports across China – particularly in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou – as new quarantine rules have come into effect under China’s zero-tolerance policy towards COVID-19 outbreaks in recent weeks, the new outbreak at PVG will likely add to the backlog of air cargo shipments that has started to build up since July 2021. Limited air cargo capacity out of China will likely further increase spot rates that have already climbed by more than 6 percent month-over-month.

Key Insights

  • Insights into disruption at Shanghai Pudong Airport
  • Analysis of impacted carriers and shipments
  • Recommendations on alternative routes
  • Outlook for the coming weeks

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