By Alex Wu
Empty export containers have been piling up in Shanghai, Ningbo, Guangdong and other major Chinese ports since December as China’s foreign trade continues to decline.
The latest data from ContainerxChange, a global container trading platform, shows that in the sixth week of 2023 (February 5-11), the CAx (container availability index) of a 40-foot container at the port of Shanghai reached 0.64 and remained at 0. above 6. 11 weeks in a row.
According to the definition of ContainerxChange, if CAx exceeds 0.5, it indicates that the port has an excess of containers, while less than 0.5 indicates that there is a shortage of containers.
Meanwhile, several mainland Chinese media recently revealed that there are more than four layers of containers at the Beilun Third Container Terminal in Ningbo, all of which are empty. Empty containers are piled up to 6 or 7 stories high in various terminals in the Waigaoqiao port area of the Port of Shanghai. Shanghai port officials told the media that empty containers were piled up to eight stories high, and that there were also a large number of empty containers in the Yangshan Deep Water Port area. Guangdong’s Yantian Port has a record number of empty containers stacked up to seven layers high since the port opened 29 years ago.
Foreign shipments fell by more than half
Zhao Mingli (pseudonym), formerly a foreign trader in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, was forced to switch careers to real estate demolition. He told The Epoch Times that it used to be difficult to find an empty container at Yantian Port, but now they have piled up like mountains. “It’s a cold winter this year [China’s] foreign trade and empty containers return to China from all over the world.”
Sun Xiaoning, who works for a logistics company in Foshan, Guangdong Province, recently told The Epoch Times that many domestic companies have closed, and the number of containers his company transports has dropped to one per month, while transportation capacity has been reduced. by 50 percent compared to before.
Ma Yilin (pseudonym), who runs a Chinese container storage business in New Jersey, told The Epoch Times. There is no shipping container [of goods]”, adding that one of them, who shipped cargo between China and the United States, “used to ship 100 cabinets a month, but now it has dropped below 50.”
Chen Ziyan has been transporting goods from Guangdong to the USA for more than 20 years.
“At my peak, I was (shipping) 15 containers a month and now I do one or two containers a month,” he said, adding that he is currently using his savings to keep his business going.
Since December, the China Export Container Index (CCFI) has continued to decline across all routes, with the composite index down 19.3 percent, 11.2 percent and 8.5 percent month-on-month, according to China Port Container Network. – monthly.
Impact on other industries
As the volume of container transportation has decreased, the price of transportation has decreased accordingly, reducing the profits of those in the transportation chain, including transportation business owners and container truck drivers.
Mainland Chinese media outlet Truck Home reported in early March that the volume of container truck traffic at the port of Shanghai has plummeted to less than 80 percent due to the epidemic, and wages for truck drivers in Shanghai are falling. in general.
At a press conference on March 20, Yu Jianhua, director of the Communist regime’s General Administration of Customs, addressed the problem of container backlogs, saying it was due to the low cost of domestic storage and seasonal effects. He added that a large number of empty containers were “ready to go” and that this showed that the international market was still optimistic about China’s export capacity in the future.
Taiwanese financial expert Huang Shikong told The Epoch Times on March 21 that Yu’s statement was too optimistic. Although there are seasonal factors in container shipments, this year’s shipment ratio is particularly low, indicating that China’s current exports are worse than in previous years. Huang said the official rhetoric consists of shouting slogans and building momentum to “maintain stability” in China, but the actual economic situation is not good.
According to data released by the Administration’s General Administration of Customs on March 7, the total value of trade between China and the United States in the first two months of this year was 702.98 billion yuan ($102 billion) on an annualized basis. decreased by 10.6 percent. Among them, exports to the US amounted to 494.11 billion yuan ($71.7 billion), decreasing by 15.2 percent. The United States is China’s largest export destination.
Because of the Chinese regime’s track record of reporting on its economic situation, many in the international community suspect that the situation is more serious than the regime has let on.
Xiao Lushen, Chan Chun, and Yi Ru contributed to this report.