There are now 150 cases of the variant, mostly in Guangzhou city, and the lockdown has caused the city’s massive port to be severely disrupted. A separate outbreak in neighbouring Shenzhen – not believed to be the Delta variant – has also added to the problem. The ports are the third and fifth largest in the world and shipping costs have spiked as a result.
Transporting a 12.2-metre (40ft) steel container by sea from Shanghai to Rotterdam now costs a record $10,522, which is nearly 300% higher than it was last year, according to Drewry Shipping. Factory costs in China, the workshop of the world, had already risen 9% in May – the most for more than a decade – because of a rapid increase in demand as the global economy reopens and as glitches in supply chains continue to be ironed out.