Delta Variant Covid Surges Battering Global Supply Chains
Updated: Aug 17, 2021
Asia has seen a renewed surge in Covid 19 infections lead by the highly infectious Delta Variant. This is compounding supply chain blockages across the world's largest source of manufactured goods.
The region had fared relatively better than others in the earlier waves of the pandemic. However, since 42%of global exports are sourced from Asia, it is feared that global supply chains will be severely effected just as they are needing to ramp up for the Christmas holiday shopping season.
Deborah Elms, the executive director of the Singapore based Asian Trade Centre has said, "Delta is likely to significantly disrupt trade in Asia. Most of the markets have been fortunate in managing Covid well so far. But as Covid continues to spread, this lucky streak is likely to end for many locations."
The Meishan terminal in the Ningbo-Zhoushan port in China halted all inbound and outbound services on Wednesday after a worker there became infected. This follows the closure last month of the Yantian Port in Shenzen due to a small outbreak.
The virus surge comes as exporters are struggling with the costs of sea freight, that can be multiples of what they were before the pandemic began. This is due to a shortage of shipping containers. The Drewry World Container Index reached $9421.48 per 40-foot container as of mid August. This is 350% more costly than a year ago.
One thing has become clear, the effects of the pandemic are far further from over than everyone would hope.