The numbers can be read differently: 1 in 5 container ships worldwide is stuck waiting outside congested ports or we can say that 20% of the world's fleet of container ships is stuck thanks to congestion in ports or what we could call, The Great Jam.
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As we already know, the Chinese authorities decided to extend the quarantines in Shanghai, a city of 26 million inhabitants and home to the world’s largest port in terms of container traffic, and the effects on world shipping were quickly felt.

The lockdowns in China are having a major impact on congestion outside the country’s ports, with the number of container ships waiting outside Chinese ports today 195% higher than in February according to data pulled from the platform. Windward Maritime Artificial Intelligence .

The three images below show a 48-hour snapshot of container ships waiting outside China’s ports in April, during which Shanghai was closed; March, which saw a lockdown of Shenzhen; and February, without confinement.

Comparison of container ships waiting outside Chinese ports / Image: Windward

The trend is clear: In the April and March snapshots, there were 506 and 470 vessels, respectively, stuck outside Chinese ports. In February, that number was just 260. In essence, the closures in China have almost doubled the congestion outside the country’s ports.

Looking at the global landscape, between April 12 and 13, 2022, 1,826 container ships were waiting outside ports around the world. That’s 20% of all container ships globally! Equally interesting is the fact that the 506 ships that were stuck outside China’s port represent 27.7% of all ships waiting outside ports around the world. By way of comparison, in February they accounted for 14.8%.

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