The supply bottlenecks around the world are getting worse.

Now they have reached the factory of the world.

Because traffic in the Yantian container port in front of the Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen is half paralyzed due to strict Corona measures.

According to ship trackers, 84 freighters were last in the roadstead for days and weeks.

The Yantian Container Terminal is number four on the list of the busiest container ports in the world, after Shanghai, Singapore and Ningbo.

Christoph Hein

Business correspondent for South Asia / Pacific based in Singapore.

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    Niklas Záboji

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      The expensive delays threaten to get worse than during the blockade of the Suez Canal bottleneck and the corona delays in the American ports.

      The shipowners are warning louder and louder of growing problems and thus rising prices.

      "I would say that due to the duration and importance of Yantian as an entrance gate this is a much bigger interruption than the one caused by Ever Given, which was stuck in the Suez Canal for a few days," says Vincent Clerc, head of sea freight at the world's largest shipowner AP Møller-Mærsk .

      That is also what Gabriel Felbermayr, President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, thinks.

      "The reason is simply that the Chinese trade routes to and from Asia, Europe and the USA are being affected at the same time," he emphasizes.

      "The prognosis for June does not look good either"

      Felbermayr describes the impact on the German economy as "considerable".

      "The problems in the international supply chains in Germany mainly affect industrial production," he says.

      You can already see the skid marks from the logistics problems in the trade indicator of the Kiel Institute.

      On the basis of real-time data on container ship traffic, Felbermayr anticipates a decline in world trade in May relative to April of 2.7 percent - "and the forecast for June does not look good either".

      The economists at the Munich Ifo Institute announced on Wednesday that, due to global delivery bottlenecks, only 3.3 percent growth for the German economy was expected this year instead of the 3.7 percent growth assumed in March.

      In Singapore, the state newspapers are already speaking about Yantian before the next "serious maritime crisis". The trade ministry of the Southeast Asian logistics hub stated that the supply of food to the rich tropical island from abroad was "to be managed". German foreign traders are also showing concern because the new bottleneck is adding to the already tense situation. They do not want to ring any alarm bells yet: A spokesman for the foreign trade association BGA says that he is currently assuming a short-term problem in Yantian that China should quickly get under control.

      In the medium term, however, Europe “cannot avoid paying more for products and goods in the future,” the BGA continues. In a fire letter to Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU), the association appeals to immediately refrain from further burdens on the supply chains. These include the introduction of anti-dumping tariffs on screws from China and a current anti-dumping procedure against Russian birch plywood. Such measures would lead to further bottlenecks with corresponding price increases.