Documents Stalled en Route to China

Global trade bankers in the US are reporting that certain documents and packages sent to destinations in the People’s Republic of China have been stuck for weeks in Shanghai. In other instances, bankers have been told by major US- based couriers that their documents cannot be sent to the PRC.

In one discussion outlet, bankers compared notes about their experiences in coping with the situation. To keep tabs on their documents in transit, one specialist indicated that in recent weeks they have asked for a telephone number from their courier company where packages are being held. The bank has also sent SWIFT messages to issuing banks to arrange pickups. “Though we never received a reply, we have done our (best) effort to do our job”, said one US West Coast banker who added it is their understanding that one courier’s planes are being disinfected in order of when they arrive in China and as packages clear, that is when their documents get sent to their destination. According to the banker, “in March, it was okay and somehow the banks in China were able to receive the documents/packages. These past weeks in April, it got worse and the packages have been sitting in Beijing for almost 2 weeks now without any movement.”

Another banker explained their experience: “As (one carrier) is not allowing us to even create AWB/shipments to some cities in China we are using (another carrier) instead. Although these packages will still get stuck in their hub until they resume operations in their hub and go thru the process of quarantine and sanitation before they are sorted and ready to be delivered. We also provide our clients the respective tracking numbers, inform them about these delivery delays and what the courier companies process is now for any incoming packages to China.”

On 18 April 2022, another banker reported: “When we encountered these issues, we informed all our customers about this and have them update their buyer overseas of the situation. Then we sent (SWIFT messages) to issuing banks asking for alternative address to send the documents to. However, no response was received. One issuing bank sent MT799 with the name and ID number of their staff who will pick up the package from (carrier’s) location in China and requested us to have (carrier in USA) release the document to said person in China. Latest update from (carrier) is that Shanghai has now re-opened but deliveries will still be delayed due to heavy backlog.”

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