One graph shows the dramatic drop in vessel tracking data from China. This could be a sign of a worsening global supply chain crisis.


The port of Lianyungang in Jiangsu, China.Wang Chun / VCG / Getty Images

  • The number of AIS signals from ships in Chinese waters has plunged 85% in less than a month.

  • Shipping companies use the data for a variety of purposes, including planning shipping routes.

  • The drop in data could exacerbate the current supply chain crisis.

Ships in Chinese waters have disappeared from the tracking systems used by the shipping industry, a development that could exacerbate the global supply chain crisis.

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) – which relies on ships to send data to stations along the coastline or via satellites – has seen a drop in the signals it receives in recent weeks.

Data from market intelligence and rating provider VesselsValue shows the number of signals in Chinese waters fell 85% in less than a month, from more than 100,000 a day on October 28 to more of 15,000 per day on November 17.

Chart showing the decline in China's AIS vessel data in November 2021.

Chart showing the decline in China’s AIS vessel data in November 2021.VesselsValue

The sharp drop comes after China’s personal information protection law came into effect on November 1. The new rules govern how domestic and foreign organizations collect and export country data.

There are no specific guidelines on shipping data due to the new regulations, but some domestic suppliers in China have stopped providing information to foreign companies due to the law, Reuters reported earlier this month. -this.

Shipping companies use the data for a variety of purposes, including shipping route planning, logistics operations, and congestion analysis.

As these signals typically provide the most data coverage and insight into shipping at Chinese ports, dropping this data could have a significant impact on the visibility of the oceanic supply chain across China, the one of the world’s leading trading nations, Charlotte Cook, chief business analyst at VesselsValue, said in an email. insider statement.

“The increased availability and volume of AIS data in recent years has become an element on which the industry is heavily dependent, allowing shipping companies to predict vessel movements in advance, track seasonal trends and improve performance. port efficiency, ”Cook said.

“Ultimately, the significant reductions we are seeing in the number of vessels reporting in China will reduce the ability to accurately monitor vessel activity, which could have ripple effects on already global supply chains. compressed, ”she added.

“If this continues, there will be a big impact in terms of global visibility, especially as we enter the busy Christmas season with supply chains already facing huge challenges around the world,” Anastassis Touros, team leader of the AIS network for vessel monitoring and maritime transport. MarineTraffic intelligence, told Reuters.

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