It seems that whilst the rest of the world is still coming to terms with the potential impact of Coronavirus, China is starting to recover, albeit slowly. Although Wuhan and Hubei province is still very much in lockdown, logistics operations in the rest of the country seem to be starting to get back to normal.
Some logistics companies are talking about a lead time of 7-10 days to clear many of the bottlenecks which have built up but by mid-March production at manufacturers should be at 70-80% of pre-Chinese New Year. However, there could still be delays of 4-6 weeks before new orders can be fulfilled.
Ports throughout China (with the exception of Wuhan) are working, albeit at lower capacity.
Customs at ports is working normally.
Shipping lines will continue with the policy of blank sailings until mid-March. DHL Global Forwarding says its space allocation with carriers is being impacted.
K+N says that demand for air cargo is increasing, placing pressure on services which have been reduced by lack of passenger airlines calling at Chinese airports. DSV says that, for the time being, air exports are well below normal activity levels and so manageable.
Air cargo freight terminals and Customs are working normally. Shanghai Pudong airport warehouses are very full due to air cargo imports remaining uncleared and uncollected.
Forwarders have established charter capacity. DHL GF has established a round trip China-EU-US service; DSV has been operating a Boeing 747-8 freighter three times a week, east and westbound, between Huntsville, Alabama in the US and Shanghai; Atlas Air is also very busy.
Trucking remains problematic due to labour shortages and travel restrictions although authorities are seeking to address issues by easing border access.
China-Hong Kong, China-Vietnam and China-Russia (Manzhouli) border crossings are open although the crossing to Kazakhstan at Horgos will remain closed until mid-March.
Shanghai is likely to become a key trucking bottleneck once production resumes to near-normal levels.
DSV has established block trains from China to Europe with a transit time of 11-15 days to avoid delays at air and seaports.
Freight forwarders have stated that most offices are working with some exceptions. Obviously, Wuhan is still affected (DSV states that their office will re-open on March 11th) but some forwarders’ offices are working on a limited basis (staff working partly from home for example) in other parts of the country.