Shanghai Pudong backlogs expected to continue over coming weeks

By Damian Brett

Shanghai Pudong - Pactl Terminal

Backlogs of cargo of Shanghai Pudong airport are expected to continue until at least mid- to late-May as demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) continues to surge.

The airport has been snarled up for weeks as a result of a surge in PPE demand, which is causing heavy congestion on feeder roads, parking lots, and cargo terminals.

Freight forwarder Agility said that entry to terminal facilities can take 36 to 40 hours and that trucks are not allowed to unload outbound cargo until 48 hours prior to scheduled flight departure.

Meanwhile, Flexport reports terminal wait times of more than 72 hours causing cargo to miss flights.

While the issues are caused in part by air cargo demand outstripping capacity supply, Flexport said that Chinese customs are also struggling to keep up with controls on the export on medical and non-medical PPE, which both undergo the same controls to ensure quality.

“The overwhelmed customs terminal contributes to delays at the terminal,” Flexport said. “Backlogs are anticipated for the next few weeks and expected to subside mid- to late-May.”

Agility said that the airport is taking some action to try and reduce waiting times. Earlier this week charter cargo operations were planned to move to PACTL West terminal because of heavy congestion at PACTL I.

Agility also reported that airfreight capacity out of China is actually up 6% compared with a year ago.

However, the forwarder also reported that Chinese airlines are restricted to only flying one route per week to/from China to all other countries. Foreign carriers may only fly to China once a week, irrespective of the origin point.

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