Shanghai’s foreign trade volume dropped by 36.5 percent in April, when the city was largely under COVID-19 control measures, from the same month last year, data from the Shanghai Statistics Bureau shows.
But in May, the container throughput of Shanghai port was already showing signs of recovery. And with the business resumption of local trading firms and port operation back to normal, the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index has started to rebound, jumping more than 32 points from May 27 to June 9.
Textile firms in Shanghai were among the worst-hit during the recent COVID-19 outbreaks. Shanghai Textile Import &Export, a company that sells around $360 million worth of fabric every year to overseas markets, saw its sales revenue collapse to around 2 percent of normal levels in April, as export value fell by double digits on a yearly basis. But the company now expects sales to fully recover by the end of June.
“In May, our sales volume already reached 130 million yuan ($19.43 million). The improvements in road transport conditions and normalized operations at Shanghai Port also helped us a lot,” said Managing Director Zhu Yi.
Shipping service companies have been doing their bit as well. In one example, COSCO announced reductions and exemptions on six charges from March 28 to June 5, including container movement delay fees. Yuan Hao, deputy general manager of Shanghai COSCO Shipping Lines, said that shipping demands from local firms and those in the Yangtze River Delta Region are back to pre-pandemic levels.
“We are dealing with customs and ports online most of the time, instead of on-site working,” Yuan said. “Shipping firms can go through all the necessary procedures in 10 minutes upon docking, and then their clients can pick up the goods right at the port.”
For nearly two months, more than 20,000 employees have been working in the Shanghai Port under closed-loop management to maintain basic operations. Daily container throughput was up to 119,000 TEUs recently.
Shanghai Customs meanwhile announced 12 special measures late in May to keep trade moving, including a special green channel that prioritizes shipping bookings, document checking and cargo inspection and release.