Supply Chain Strategy

Maersk says China lockdowns trigger surge in African cargo business

By David Whitehouse

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Posted on June 16, 2022 09:44

Renewed Covid-19 lockdowns in China are prompting strong cargo business across Africa, Maersk managing director for Africa David Williams tells The Africa Report.

The company is seeing a “surge of cargo into all coasts” in west, east and southern Africa, Williams says at the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan. He sees a “a strong outlook for the next couple of months.”

China accounts for 15% of global merchandise exports, and Shanghai handles a fifth of the country’s port volumes. The city’s latest hard lockdown as part of the country’s “zero-COVID policy” ended at the end of May. Analysts say that a return to business as usual at the port remains some way off, given restrictions on trucking in and out of the city and the backlog which built up in the previous two months.

Supply-side shocks from Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war have left just-in-time supply chain models looking fragile and outmoded. Supply-chain deficiencies were first exposed by the pandemic, and the Russian war, Williams says, has had “a major impact on our customers’ ability to

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