As many U.S. importers and exporters are aware, laborers at Hongkong International Terminal (HIT) have been on strike for the past twelve days. HIT actually runs five of the eleven terminals in Hong Kong. The result of the strike has been a severe slowdown in operations at the terminals. Vessels are being delays roughly three to four days in Hong Kong as it is taking longer for containers to be loaded and unloaded.
One difference between the terminal strike in Hong Kong and past terminal strikes in the United States is that the HIT terminals actually have not completely shut down. They are still operating, albeit at a reduced capacity. Those familiar with longshoremen related strikes in the United States are used to complete terminal shut downs when terminal workers go on strike. Containers continue to be loaded and unloaded from the vessel, just at a slower pace. A number of carriers are diverting vessels to other nearby ports in China.
Importers with shipments from Hong Kong should double-check on the shipping schedules and prepare for a couple of days delay. They may also want to consider shipping directly from a nearby China port (Yantian/Huangpu) to avoid delays in Hong Kong.
Exporters with shipments to Hong Kong should be prepared for possible delays when the vessel arrives.