• LUCAS DE LA CAL

    Correspondent

    Beijing

Updated on Saturday, 27November2021-01: 34

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  • Podcast The crisis of the sea: this is how collapse threatens next Christmas

New problem in the shrinking

global supply chain

: Ships in Chinese waters are disappearing from the radars of data companies that monitor the movements of ships around the world. Something that does not help alleviate the bottlenecks that are affecting all economies. That information is crucial for companies to understand freight volumes and to better optimize logistics by predicting congestion on shipping routes.

Maritime traffic has been falling since the end of October due to a new legislation in Beijing that puts stones to the public access of ship data. In recent weeks, as

their sources

have explained to

Reuters

, some domestic suppliers in China have stopped providing information to foreign companies as a direct consequence of new rules with which the Chinese government would seek to increase its control over how domestic and foreign organizations collect and export the data coming out of the second world economy.

On November 1

, the

Personal Information Protection Law

came into force

, which, according to Chinese media, is aimed at regulating and minimizing the flow of data going abroad.

As of now, the companies that process the data are required to pass a filter by Beijing before they can allow the information to leave Chinese soil.

According to the

Financial Times

, the amount of Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals in Chinese waters, which provides location positions on ships,

dropped from more than 15 million per day in October to around 1 million

per day. early November.

Shipping data companies can track ships around the world because they are equipped with the AIS system, which made it possible to assess activity levels in Chinese ports that have been congested in recent months by supply chain problems and pandemic controls.

According to experts, AIS information is taken from continuous broadcasts and, although it can be collected using satellite data, for highly congested areas or places where frequent updates are needed, the source of transmission should be terrestrial.

Christmas impact

MarineTraffic

, a leading global provider of ship tracking and maritime intelligence, is among the foreign companies affected. "If this continues, there will be a huge impact in terms of global visibility, especially as we enter the busy Christmas period with supply chains already facing huge problems around the world. Suddenly, we don't know when the ships are leaving and from where, and we also don't have the full picture of port congestion that AIS gives us, "

Anastassis Touros

, AIS network team leader at MarineTraffic, told

Reuters

.

According

to

VesselsValue

business analyst

Charlotte Cook

on

CNN

, her colleagues in China told her that some AIS transponders were removed from stations along the Chinese coast earlier this month on the orders of national security authorities.

"Shipping companies rely on AIS data to predict vessel movement, track seasonal trends and improve port efficiency. Lack of Chinese data could significantly affect visibility of the ocean supply chain in China," Cook said. .

In China, the world's largest exporter and a key center for the shipping industry, there are eight of the ten most important ports in the world.

And Christmas is just around the corner.

"China's factories returned in 2020 after the country was closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but since then manufacturing activity has declined throughout 2021. The port of

Yantian

remained semi-closed for a month and a half in May. and June 2021, while

Ningbo

was briefly closed in August due to coronavirus concerns. Factory activity also fell back in September due to power outages resulting from restrictions on the use of electricity, "explains

Sara Hsu,

technology expert Chinese financier and associate professor at the University of Tennessee.

Traffic jams since summer

Cargo ships have been in traffic jams since summer for various reasons ranging from labor shortages, lack of equipment necessary to transport containers or overloaded warehouses. In China, supply chains have been

affected by power outages

- the country's electricity grid was unable to meet demand for coal while complying with the national policy towards a green transition - and the overwhelming rise in demand for coal. the consumers.

To which must be added that, due to the Covid zero strategy, China

prohibits personnel changes for foreign crew

and recently imposed a mandatory seven-week quarantine for returning Chinese sailors.

Even ships that have renewed crews elsewhere have to wait two weeks before being allowed to embark in China.

"Any restriction on shipping operations has a cumulative impact on the supply chain and causes real disruptions,"

Guy Platten,

secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping, which represents shipowners and operators

, said on Thursday

.


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