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China shipping logjam chokes Christmas in US and Europe

Pandemic leaves containers in wrong places and ports under strain

Germany's Hamburg port. An upsurge in demand during the year-end holiday season in Europe and the U.S. has coincided with severe disruption to global logistics chains.   © Reuters

HAMBURG, Germany/PALO ALTO, U.S. -- Severe bottlenecks in trade between China and the rest of the world are frustrating retailers and shoppers in Europe and the U.S. during the year's biggest shopping season.

During Germany's first COVID-19-lockdown in March, Oliver Hellmold, CEO of Notebooksbilliger, one of Europe's largest online electronics retailers, started ordering twice as many gadgets from China as usual for this year's pre-Christmas sales, anticipating a pandemic-related shift toward people working from home.

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