View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter – data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. News
March 25, 2022

EXCLUSIVE: Concern as Shanghai lockdown threatens apparel supply chains

The US and UK apparel industry tell Just Style exclusively the consequences of the lockdown around Shanghai's port could pose another difficult issue for apparel retailers and wholesalers to navigate.

By Laura Husband

With the apparel industry heavily reliant on China and the Port of Shanghai said to be the busiest port in the world in terms of cargo tonnage, the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT)’s CEO Adam Mansell says any shipping delays linked to a Covid lockdown will have a detrimental impact on the wider apparel industry.

The UKFT’s Mansell who promotes fashion and textile companies in the UK, highlights retailers have only just got back to operating on a normal level from the pandemic and lockdowns in that region of China will create more challenges.

While, the American Apparel & Footwear Association’s president and CEO Steve Lamar states China’s zero-Covid policy is outdated and needs to be reassessed in order to keep supply chains moving and the world’s economic recovery on-track.

He says: “The lockdowns in Shanghai are part of widespread supply chain disruption that continues to stymie our economic recovery. Our first goal is always to keep people healthy and limit the spread of Covid, which we now know how to do without severe closures. We’ve learned a lot about Covid and science has provided us with vaccines and new experience through which we can successfully keep people safe and our supply chains operational. It is time to revisit these outdated zero-Covid policies and replace them with current learnings so we can support both lives and livelihoods.”

Mansell explains it has been a full five years of unexpected difficulties for the UK’s apparel industry. He says: “It started with the disruptions caused by Brexit and these were followed by Covid.” He adds: “Today, we’re faced with the difficulties caused by the war in Ukraine and a number of retail outlets closing in Russia as a result, as well as rising levels of inflation. It’s a very difficult time for the industry as a whole.”

The National Retail Federation (NRF)’s vice president of supply chain and customs policy, Jon Gold, agrees with both Lamar and Mansell and points out this new lockdown adds further delays to an already congested supply chain at an important time for retailers – the post-Christmas period.

He says: “The ongoing uncertainty over Covid is hanging over the supply chain and a zero-Covid policy continues to impact the industry being able to move products from A to B.”

But Nils Haupt, head of corporate communications at Hapag-Lloyd AG, a German international shipping and container transportation company is keen to downplay the industry’s concern.

Speaking to Just Style he says: “Lockdowns like this one are normally very short and after one to two weeks the situation normally eases to minimise economic impact.”

The lockdown in Shanghai follows on from the lockdowns reported in Shenzhen earlier this month, which resulted in factories that were not involved with essential services being told to pause production due to China’s zero-Covid policy. However, last Friday (18 March), France24 reported that Shenzhen had partially eased lockdown measures, due to President Xi Jinping stressing the need to “minimise the impact” of the pandemic on the nation’s economy.

Harupt points out the lockdown in Shenzhen was far more severe than in Shanghai and notes: “For April we expect in both markets a complete relaxation of the situation.”

Related Companies

Free Report
img

Navigate your business through the ‘new normal’

COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines the world over. It has already affected our lives forever. The way we work, shop, eat, seek medical advice, and socialize will all be different in the future. Quite how different remains to be seen, but all industries must plan for multiple eventualities.  Faced with an explosion of conflicting information on how to plan and implement successful recovery strategies, decision-makers are in dire need of a single, reliable source of intelligence.   GlobalData’s COVID-19 Executive Briefing gives you access to unparalleled data and insights to successfully navigate the uncertain road to recovery across the world’s largest industries. Understand every aspect of this disruptive theme by delving into: 
  •  COVID-19 infection update, with statistics on the spread, testing by country, as well as the latest data on vaccines and therapeutic developments 
  • Economic impact overview, covering stock market indices, GDP, unemployment rates, policy responses & GlobalData’s economic recovery scorecards 
  • Sector developments, with access to sector insight summaries, cross-sector indices and the leaders and laggards in each industry vertical 
Whatever your company’s imminent strategic plans, the long-lasting impact of COVID-19 must not be overlooked. Find out how to futureproof your business operations – download our report today. 
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

Topics in this article:
NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. The top stories of the day delivered to you every weekday. A weekly roundup of the latest news and analysis, sent every Monday. The industry's most comprehensive news and information delivered every quarter.
I consent to GlobalData UK Limited collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
SUBSCRIBED

THANK YOU

Thank you for subscribing to Just Style