Very strict Covid related restrictions with eventual complete lockdown (curfew) for at least 60 days, had been implemented by Chinese Authorities in Shanghai and likewise in other major ports/cities in China since the end of March 2022.

Shanghai, a city of 25 million people, was eventually shut down totally in April and May 2022, with the Government Authorities supplying basic provisions to the local residents, who were not even allowed to exit their home. Likewise, traveling in & out of the major Shanghai province was forbidden.

This resulted to a very serious disruption of trade and thus supply chain of commodities / materials and spare parts.

Moreover, vessels scheduled for Class surveys/ drydocking or damage repairs were diverted to other ports / yards in South East Asia, mainly Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and other regional countries with yard/repair facilities. As a result, enhanced removal (either on own power or under tow) and/or repair costs may have been and are still being faced by H&M UWS.

As far as accessibility to yards/terminals and diversification of vessels for scheduled repairs in China, our Shanghai office managed to sustain the lockdown, by strategically stationing members of our surveyors’ team outside the major Shanghai area throughout the curfew period, who were free to travel and attend vessels calling at other ports/yards in China, always though subject to local covid restrictions and regulation as applicable at the different ports/terminals across China. Those remaining in Shanghai, continued working from home, always with the support of our Piraeus and Istanbul offices, by timely enhancing their IT capabilities and accessibility to our global servers.

Simultaneously, our Singapore office saw an increase in casualty instructions, absorbing part of the vessels’ influx for damage repairs in the regional yards or lay-by berths, which would otherwise call at yards in China.

On an optimistic note, as Shanghai was recently declared as a non-risk region for Covid since 1st July 2022, restrictions are gradually being uplifted, with latest total opening for travelling and free commuting to other provinces. Therefore, our Shanghai office surveyors have now resumed full scale travelling to all ports/yards throughout China attending on board vessels, whilst our Surveyors which had been stationed and attending outside Shanghai province, have now returned to office and reunited with their families (after almost 3 months).

Concluding, both our Shanghai and Singapore offices remain fully active and open for business (though ‘not yet fully as usual’), whilst we all look forward to the improvement of worldwide circumstances and quick recovery of normal pace of life and supply chain globally.