Meat Import Containers Piling Up in Chinese Ports

Thousands of containers of frozen pork, chicken, and beef are sitting in major Chinese ports because of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Bloomberg says transportation disruptions and labor shortages are slowing operations drastically. People familiar with the situation tell Bloomberg that there aren’t enough truck drivers to pick up and move the containers due to travel restrictions imposed on the country to control the coronavirus.

Ports are also running out of electricity to help freeze the containers, while some ships have been told to move on to other destinations in mainland China or Hong Kong.

China imports massive amounts of meat products from South America, Europe, and the United States. It’s been boosting purchases to help ease some of the shortages caused by the African Swine Fever outbreak that decimated its hog herds. Customs data shows that China boosted its imports of meat and offal by almost 50 percent last year to a record 6.2 million tons.

It’s not known if or when port operations will be able to return to normal as truck drivers returning from other cities are quarantined for 14 days. Other transport restrictions on trucks also remain in place.