Cross-border supply chain operations between south China and Hong Kong are becoming more challenging due to rising Covid cases and the approaching Chinese New Year holiday.
Freight forwarder Dimerco said that cargo being moved from manufacturing hubs around Shenzhen to Hong Kong by road or feeder vessel for onward transport by air or sea were facing disruption.
“Container feeder services are scaling back, or even suspending, operations since factory volumes are down due to workers being out due to Covid illness and factories shutting down early for the coming Chinese New Year,” the forwarder said in a market update.
Trucking also faces challenges as on top of the already limited driver supply, the Chinese government requires a Covid-negative test for these drivers and factory pick-up locations must hold a valid site code that indicates the site is free of Covid.
“This situation threatens the ability of manufacturers to quickly ship goods to customers,” the company said.
For airfreight shipments, the forwarder suggested either utilising a bonded warehouse in Shenzhen’s Qianhai hub or a sea-air pilot programme that Dimerco is taking part in.
The bonded trucking option allows a local driver from Shenzhen to drive cargo to a bonded facility at Qianhai where it can be picked up by a Hong Kong-registered driver, rather than using a single driver for the whole journey that runs the risk of a negative Covid test.
The pilot sea-air programme uses shipping to take the built-up cargo almost directly to the airport.
“ULDs are built and X-ray screening is done at the Hong Kong International (HKIA) Logistics Park in Dongguan,” Dimerco said.
“These aircraft-ready ULDs are then taken to the Dongguan Seaport to be loaded onto feeder vessels and delivered to a port of discharge very close to HKIA.
“There is no need for an additional truck move to the airport. ULDs move directly to the aircraft for loading.”
Last year, supply chains were also affected by cross-border restrictions between China and Hong Kong.