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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.  

Due to record-setting COVID-19 case counts in Hong Kong, officials have further tightened quarantine measures. This is bound to cause delays to shipments and we therefore recommend to book transportation as far in advance as possible. 

Airlines in the US have warned of serious problems as new 5G mobile services are rolled out. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that certain frequencies of the new 5G networks could massively affect aircraft radio altimeters. Unlike in the US, Europe generally uses a 5G spectrum that is further away from the frequency bands used for radio altimeters. 

Dalian is the latest port city in China to detect the Omicron variant, which is why we warn of more shipping delays in the countdown to Chinese New Year. The outbreak is reportedly growing at nearby Tianjin. While the port is open, restrictions on truck drivers are causing delays. 

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