Shippers face tough controls on cargo
Shenzhen exporters and importers will face tougher restrictions on the movement of cargo starting next week as a result of the World University Games that begin on August 12.
The measures aim to restrict the number of vehicles on Shenzhen roads during the Games.
Critics say the restrictions could cause significant problems because some firms are still in the dark about the details and there is a lack of information about how long the controls will remain in force.
'A lot of shippers are concerned that the restrictions will disrupt their operations,' said Jacques Chan, regional general manager for global logistics group BDP International.
'Nobody can give a firm answer on the restrictions on a particular day. We will watch the situation on a daily basis,' he said.
Under current plans, trucks and cars will be banned from Shenzhen roads on alternate days, depending on whether they have odd or even numbers for their registrations. These restrictions will start on August 4 and continue to August 24 even though the Universiade will last less than two weeks from August 12-23.
Chan said that as a result of the odd-even registration restrictions, exporters and freight forwarders may have to limit the use of their trucks. 'They may have difficulty getting their cargo to port and they may have to look at alternative methods,' he said.
More restrictive controls on vehicles will be imposed on the opening and closing days of the Games.
The aim is to keep around 800,000 vehicles off the roads to allow easier access to events for officials and athletes. In addition, all trucks carrying dangerous goods will be banned between 7am and 8pm.
Airfreight shipments from Shenzhen International Airport also face tougher controls, with customs officials placing a special focus on the transport of powders, liquid and lithium batteries. The State Council has also approved additional public holidays for Shenzhen from August 11-14 and August 22-24.
Chan was unsure how extensive the traffic restrictions would be in Shenzhen and whether they would be city-wide from Shekou or Baoan in the west to Yantian in the east, or more on a district level or only affecting certain roads.
A day-long rehearsal on Saturday for the opening ceremony at the Shenzhen Bay sports centre in Nanshan involved an estimated 20,000 people and 500 vehicles and led to three hours of traffic restrictions on the route between the sports centre and the Games village.
Some 11,260 people - comprising 7,557 athletes and 3,703 officials from 141 countries and regions - have registered to attend the Games, according to figures from Shenzhen city officials last Thursday. A total of 63 venues throughout the city will be used for Games events including basketball, weightlifting, judo and athletics.
FedEx, the air express shipment company, was also unclear on how long the tightened security procedures would last.
The company, which has its Asian cargo hub at Guangzhou's Baiyun International Airport as well as extensive air cargo operations at Shenzhen airport, said in an advisory notice to customers: 'We have yet to receive notification of when the precautionary measures will end.
'We will honour the regulations that are in place with regard to the Universiade 2011 deliveries and we are working to ensure that we provide our customers with the best service possible during the Universiade in Shenzhen.'
UPS has its Asia-Pacific hub at Shenzhen's Baoan International Airport.
Sunny Ho Lap-kee, executive director of the Hong Kong Shippers' Council, which represents exporters and manufacturers, said the restrictions were likely to be similar to those imposed in Guangzhou during the Asian Games and in Shanghai during last year's World Expo. He said some shippers may move their goods to ports in Guangzhou or Hong Kong to overcome potential difficulties in getting cargo to Shenzhen ports.
Shenzhen authorities began an operation earlier this year to expel more than 80,000 migrants deemed to be a security risk ahead of the Games.
The amount of cargo, in tonnes, handled by Shenzhen port last year, up 15.6 per cent from 2009, according to local authorities