Maersk says China lockdowns trigger surge in African cargo business

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Thursday, 16 June 2022 11:44, updated on Friday, 17 June 2022 11:09

Unloading of Maersk containers at the Port of Freetown terminal in Freetown, Sierra Leone, controlled by Bolloré Africa Logistics. © Jean Claude MOSCHETTI/REA

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.