Freight industry recovering from Tianjin port disruptions

Tianjin is one of the most important cities of China. Its port is the 10th biggest in the world. The Wednesday explosions caused major destruction of port’s facilities, including parts of logistics park and container storage area. Significant efforts have been made to resume ports’ operations as quickly as possible and last Friday Tianjin Maritime Safety Administration announced that all berths started receiving vessels based on normal schedule, apart from Beigangchi area, where entrance of vessels carrying hazardous goods is still prohibited.

Despite this congestion continues and shipping lines in the area are operating with severe delays (Lloyds). Same source reports that operators still have very serious safely concerns, as several tonnes of hazardous material remain at the explosion site; and have therefore temporarily reduced capacity. Although port is said to be operating as normal several roads leading to the port’s container terminals are either still closed or diversions are in place (Loadstar).

The damage caused by the blast is not yet fully assessed and so is the impact on supply chain of companies operating in the area. According to Loadstar, one major 3PL confirmed that all ocean export and import operations via Xingang/Tianjin were suspended late last week, which may last for a week or longer. The same company explained that that they have contingency plan but are not prepared to disclose it until operations resume.

Logistics industry experts expect transport disruptions in Tianjin port area to continue for at least several weeks. This makes shippers, whose supply chain were affected, consider airfreight options or look for the their shipments to be rerouted to other North China ports: Dalian and Qingdao. The expertise of freight forwarders on managing clients’ business in crisis situations will play a crucial role here.