In Focus:  China may see an influx of COVID cases around Chinese New Year

As Chinese New Year approaches in January, the nation will embark on its biggest national holiday of the year.  Recently, China has relaxed its zero-COVID policy after protests in major cities which could cause the country to  face a ‘super-wave’ of infections that could overwhelm its health system.

The relaxation of the policy could also impact labour as factories may be faced with worker shortages after the lunar new year. Factory bosses may be faced with Covid-positive truck drivers who were before, subjected to rigorous testing at borders.

Some factories may also be forced to slow production due to a lack of components from suppliers.

Therefore, staffing shortages could force factories to suspend production and truck drivers falling ill due to the coronavirus, may bring major disruption to supply chains.



  • Ocean carriers are preparing to blank half of their sailings from Asia to North Europe and to the USA after Chinese New Year
    • High inventory levels in Europe and the US have seen orders cancelled or postponed. 
    • This has seen Chinese factories preparing to shut down more in advance of the Chinese New Year holiday.


Central China to USA and Europe 

  • From SHA to Europe  and the USA, less cargo is being shipped as we are nearing Christmas. Rates will not increase during the Christmas period.
  • From NGB to Europe and USA, rates have decreased this week. 
    • Please check rates and space on a case-by-case basis.

North China to USA and Europe 

  • Rates have increased this week from TSN to Europe and the USA, however they are still much lower compared to the same period last year. 
    • Air China, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines are passenger flights which can provide spot rates for dense cargo to Europe. 
    • Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Cathay Pacific are passenger flights which can provide spot rates for dense cargo to the USA.
    • Korean Air and Asiana airlines can provide earlier ETD and EAT times as freight flights. 
  • TSN is still facing labour shortages due to the infection of COVID-19, therefore the handling process has slowed down. 
  • Rates from PEK to Europe and the USA are higher this week. PEK terminal is facing labour shortages due to COVID infections in the area. This has slowed down operations at the airport. 
  • Rates from TAO to Europe and the USA have increased this week. 
    • All Nippon Airways via Narita International Airport can load up to 10 tons of cargo each week to the US.
    • Asiana Airlines has space for 2 tons of cargo to the US each week. 
  • At CKG airport, operations are running normally and rates remain similar to last week. 

South China to USA and Europe 

  • From CAN to Europe and the USA, rates have increased this week. 
  • From SZX to Europe and the USA, rates remain stable. 
  • From XMN to Europe and the USA, rates are the same as last week but space is tight. Operations remain normal. 


  • Covid restrictions on cross-border trucking between Hong Kong and China were lifted today.
    • Previously, drivers from Hong Kong had to use designated checkpoints to collect and drop off containers. 
      • This increased costs and added up to 20 hours to transit times. 
    • Drivers from Hong Kong can now enter Guangdong for direct shipments.
      • A quota on the number of cross-border trucks allowed into China each day has also been cancelled. 
      • The scrapping of this rule could mean that costs will decrease by 20 to 30% and shorten transit times significantly.


  • The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will no longer implement the container dwell fee programme.
    • On 25th October 2021, the ports announced plans to charge a $100 per container per day for boxes left on the terminal for more than nine days.
    • This was to reduce record levels of congestion which happened during that time. 
    • The charge was due to be implemented on 15th November, however the ports witnessed a significant improvement in the volume of ageing cargo containers left on the docks.
    • As a result of consistent postponements and a shift in volumes from the US West Coast to East Coast, means that the fee was never implemented. 


  • Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) discussions are taking place between unions and TPM Terminals (APMT) Maasvlakte II in Rotterdam.
    • Maersk has told shippers that negotiations started on 8 December and operations are affected by a ‘go-slow’ action from 11th December. 
    • This industrial action is affecting operational efficiencies and Maersk anticipates a slowdown and delays in container handling of all modalities. 


  • The UK’s largest container port, Felixstowe, has reached an agreement with its workforce on a new pay deal.
    • Both parties have agreed on a 2023 pay deal, worth 8.5%, including a £1,000 bonus. 
    • Over 90% of its workers have voted to accept the deal. 
    • Earlier this year, 1,900 workers walked out for eight days in August and September due to failed pay negotiations.
    • The industrial action saw ocean carriers divert ships to nearby European ports such as London Gateway, Southampton, Rotterdam and Antwerp. 
    • This caused major disruption to UK supply chains as shippers had to make contingency plans to ensure their shipments were not impacted by the disruptions. 


  • The UK’s HM Revenue and Customs has delayed the deadline for the CDS migration for exports from CHIEF.
    • The Customs Declaration Service (CDS) replaced Customs Handling Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) as the UK import platform in September 2022. 
    • The original deadline for the closure of CHIEF for exports was due on 31st March 2023.
    • The new deadline for businesses to make export declarations using CDS is 30th November 2023.
    • According to HMRC, the delay will enable HMRC to spend more time working with the industry and support declarants who have not yet transitioned to CDS. 

European Bank Holidays

We anticipate a shortage of availability and the occurrence of delays around the bank holiday periods. Plan ahead and allow extra time for your products to be delivered.

December 13th – Malta

December 24th –  Austria*, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Sweden

December 25th – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden

December 26th – Austria, Belgium*, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France*, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain*, Sweden

December 27th – Bulgaria, Gibraltar, Guernsey and Alderney, Ireland*, Isle of Man, Jersey, Saint Helena, UK 

December 28th – Bulgaria, Ireland*

December 31st – Andorra*, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Latvia, Liechtenstein*, Russia, San Marino*, Svalbard and Jan Mayen*, Sweden*, Switzerland*, Transdeniestria

*Not in all regions

The route ahead

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