Ten per cent of the world’s items currently being shipped are reportedly stuck in the country’s ports.
Supply chain management lecturer at Australian National University David Leaney said the image is “as bad as it looks”.
“To give you an idea of the scale, Shanghai’s greater port area is about 60 kilometres wide so that’s about 3600 square kilometres so it usually handles 2000 ships a month and 40 million shipping containers,” Mr Leaney said.
“It is impacting a lot of different items, if you’ve ordered white goods, furniture, clothes you’re in for major delays.”
The backlog is causing delays to both imports and exports.
As inflation has reached a 20-year high in Australia, Mr Leaney warned these shipping delays are only going to add to the costs.
“Costs are going up which are adding to inflation pressures and that will, of course, add to pressures on interest rates,” he said.
Mr Leaney warned the delays may last months.
“Even if we were to fix the COVID-19 situation magically in China, it will still take months to clear the backlog,” he said.
“It’s like when you have a traffic accident and the accident is cleared but it still takes ages for the traffic to flow again after the cars have been towed away because of the congestion caused by it.
“I think we will see delays for the rest of 2022.”