Flooding continues on in central China, with implications for the rest of the world. Two months of rain swelled the Yangtze River leading to massive flooding, and is now threatening the Three Gorges Dam. Local officials in central China issued their highest flood alert, after the Huaihe River reached depths of nearly 97 feet. Monsoon season may be a feature of summertime in China, but this year it could not be more inopportune.
On top of everything else, flooding in China is throwing a wrench into supply chains which have already been snarled by the coronavirus. It could impact PPE deliveries at a time when the United States is facing a rise in coronavirus cases.
Water levels in Wuhan are at their fourth highest in the city’s history. Outside of its notoriety as the origin point for the coronavirus, Wuhan also happens to export one third of China’s supply of nonwoven fabric. Reuters predicts that shipments may be delayed by three weeks.
This is affecting carrier operations. Hapag-Lloyd told customers that ‘import container pick-up activities have been severely impacted…we seek your assistance to pick up your container as soon as released by customs’. Maersk has reported some inland terminals in China have had to suspend operations.
‘It’s just creating another major roadblock here in terms of PPE getting into the United States – it is the worst of times for it to happen but that’s what we’re dealing with right now,’ Michael Einhorn, president of Dealmed, a U.S. medical supply distributor, told Reuters. ‘We cannot get product out for over a week, which is a very long time in our business.’