China’s 7-week quarantines on cargo crews are bad news for the supply chain

  • China is imposing mandatory quarantines of up to seven weeks for returning Chinese sailors.
  • Crew changes are becoming more difficult due to stricter government requirements, according to the Global Maritime Forum.
  • Ships reoriented to circumvent Chinese restrictions, extending expeditions.

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China’s strict COVID-19 quarantines make it difficult to change ships’ crews, contributing to delays in the shipping process that could exacerbate the supply chain crisis.

The country has a zero Covid policy and imposes increasingly stringent containment measures as it tackles its latest wave of epidemics. On Halloween night, for example, 30,000 people were locked inside Shanghai Disneyland after a single case of COVID-19 was detected. And in the northern city of Shenyang, arriving overseas travelers are subject to a 56-day quarantine.

Now, the export center is imposing mandatory quarantines of up to seven weeks – about 49 days – on Chinese sailors returning from overseas, Bloomberg reported. These take place at designated facilities and are usually paid for by employers, according to information posted on various China shipping websites.

The country has also banned crew changes for foreign sailors, the outlet reported. Even ships whose crew has been changed elsewhere must wait before they can enter Chinese ports, Bloomberg added.

Sailors typically take a break after four to six months on board, according to the International Maritime Organization.

Most of the world’s seafarers come from five countries: China, the Philippines, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Before the pandemic, sailors sometimes had to travel to another country to board a ship. Likewise, some would disembark in another country before returning home by plane, which has already been made more and more difficult in the past two years due to border controls.

The personnel exchange exercise for Chinese sailors has become increasingly difficult “due to the Chinese government’s stricter isolation requirements for sailors after signing and before repatriation,” said the World Maritime Forum. nonprofit in a recent press release.

This means ships are reorienting themselves to bypass Chinese restrictions, thus extending shipments.

“China’s restrictions have ripple effects,” Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping, told Bloomberg. “Any restriction on transport operations has a cumulative impact on the supply chain and causes real disruption. “

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