The Chinese clothing export sector would have suffered more if the powerful explosions that ripped through a storage facility at Tianjin Port earlier this month had occurred in more southerly ports in the country, according to a specialist in China’s garment industry.

“The effect on clothing exports [from the Tianjin explosion] is minimal,” claims He Xiaosi, manager at CCFGroup consultants based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang. “Tianjin Port serves Tianjin, Beijing and Hebei, which are not large manufacturers of clothing or textiles.”

He explains that due to the textile industry’s location in the south of the country, the impact is minimal. “Only local producers may have been affected and only temporarily. Only around 1-2% of China’s clothing exports pass through Tianjin Port. Overall, the localised incident cannot be considered an issue [for clothing exports],” He says.

“However, if it had been a port in Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Fujian or Guangdong, it would have had a much greater impact on clothing.”

Manufacturers in the northern provinces prefer Dalian port, he says, adding that consignments of garments originally destined for Tianjin would have been diverted to Dalian, and Qingdao.

Tianjin Port (Group) Ltd officials could not be reached by just-style, but a Chinese language communiqué says: “Due to the impact of the explosions of 13 August, sectors of the Tianjin Port Group temporarily suspended operations and entry and exit to the harbour was limited. As of 8:00 on 13 August, the Tianjin Port Group had fully restored the main two-way navigation channel and normal entry and exit of the port."

An official at the Tianjin Garment Chamber of Commerce believes it is too early to know what the full impact will be. Asked when the Tianjin Garment Chamber of Commerce might find out, the official simply notes: “That’s not an easy topic”.

The China National Garment Association would not comment and the China National Textile & Apparel Council had no information.

As reported on just-style last week, Nate Herman, vice president of international trade for the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), which represents US brands, retailers and importers, said the potential impact of the explosion on US imports might include "whether they have containers there that are damaged or can’t be moved". He added: "With the Tianjin port recovering from the incident, we could see cargo temporarily shift to other ports which could have an impact on imports as well."