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South Africa suspended shipping at its main port in Durban after the heaviest rains in more than six decades and resultant flooding damaged roads leading to the harbour. Durban harbour is a key trade route for South Africa and its landlocked neighbours including Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.  

While some residents were allowed to step out of their homes for the first time in several days, Shanghai enters the second week of an indefinite lockdown, leading to ocean carriers increasingly omitting calls at the world's largest sea port and preparing to announce more blank sailings.  

The Shanghai lockdown has been extended indefinitely, a move that casts further uncertainty over Chinese supply chains. The severe restrictions in the eastern half of the city, including Pudong, were due to be lifted on Friday, but nearly all areas remain under lockdown and local authorities have given no timeframe for its end.  

The COVID pandemic in China continues to spread across the country. Shanghai, unfortunately, has replaced Jilin Province as the leading hotspot in the nationwide outbreak. As a consequence, the Shanghai Government announced late last evening to launch a two-phase lockdown in the city as from early March 28, divided primarily between Pudong ( March 28 to April1 ) and Puxi ( April 1 to April 5 ).  

Congestion at North Europe’s container ports is on the rise again, causing ocean carriers to adapt their schedules and restrict import and export operations at terminals. 

Hong Kong's neighbouring city Shenzhen will be put under a citywide lockdown starting today, Monday, the local government announced after it reported 66 new coronavirus cases. The city with a population of around 17 million, across the border from Covid-hit Hong Kong, has told residents to get tested three times between March 14 and 20.  

The invasion of Ukraine by the armed forces of the Russian Federation is causing concern for some shippers who have their goods transported by rail along the Silk Road. Currently, rail transports on the Silk Road are running smoothly. 

Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited, the largest airfreight terminal in the city, is struggling with severe delays while as many as 70% of its staff are on sick leave due to an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. 

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the price of crude oil has soared to its highest level since 2014, to more than $105 a barrel, with analysts predicting $130 within weeks. As a result, shippers must brace themselves for a raft of emergency bunker surcharges from ocean carriers. 

In its press release dated 17 February 2022, CLECAT (the European Liaison Committee of the Freight Forwarding Industry to the EU Commission) informed about its request to the EU Commission to carry out a sector inquiry in the container shipping sector in order to eliminate unfair and discriminatory regulations. From CLECAT's point of view, European companies continue to face rising container shipping costs, record low reliability and limited service offerings.  

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