Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) what is the extent of Chinese port closures during the COVID-19 pandemic; (b) how will this affect supply chains and production in Singapore; and (c) whether it will have a material impact on Singapore’s growth.
Written Answer by Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Gan Kim Yong
1. In May and August 2021, after detecting several COVID-19 cases, China imposed partial and temporary closures at the Yantian International Container Terminal at the Port of Shenzhen and the Meidong Container Terminal at the Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan for 34 and 14 days respectively. While both ports accounted for approximately 8% of Singapore’s imports from China, the port closures did not have a significant direct impact on Singapore’s economy and supply chains.
2. However, in a globally connected network, such port closures would create a chain effect and affect operations at subsequent ports of call, particularly at major transhipment nodes like Singapore. For example, when there is a delay in vessel arrivals, shippers would need time to re-plan and execute cargo movements.
3. To mitigate the impact of the delays, PSA has been working closely with the shipping lines, cargo owners and other supply chain stakeholders to track the handling of time-sensitive cargo to minimise delays.
4. Such port closures may be more frequent in the future, and therefore businesses will need to strengthen their supply chain risk management and business continuity plans.