Delays and congestion at ports in southern China are worsening, prompting major liner operators to issue new guidances.

A fresh outbreak of Covid-19 has led to work restrictions at the region's ports, affecting productivity at container terminals.

Most of the world's major liner operators are omitting sailings due to the evolving congestion and disruption in and around the Port of Shenzhen, as TradeWinds has reported.

AP Moller-Maersk, the world's largest container line, said on Thursday that it expects delays at Yantian Port in Shenzhen have increased by a further two days to 16 days.

The line has three vessels due to call at Yantian in the coming week.

Ocean Network Express (ONE) said on Friday that seven more of its operated boxships will omit calls at Yantian or nearby Shekou.

Sixty-four vessels have omitted Yantian and Shekou to protect schedule reliability.

Congestion at container terminals at Shekou and Chiwan, also near Shenzhen, has reportedly surged past 90% of capacity.

More than 50 boxships were waiting on Friday to dock in the Outer Pearl River Delta, where the ports are located, according to Refinitiv data cited by Reuters.

Around 20 vessels were waiting during the same period last year, according to the data.

Yantian International Container Terminals (YICT), one of the world's biggest box facilities, is operating at about 30% of its usual productivity.

Import of laden containers resumed on Wednesday in the western area of YICT, but other operations there have been suspended until further notice.

At YICT and the port of Nansha in Guangzhou, laden export containers are only being accepted through the terminal gate seven days in advance of vessels' estimated time of arrival.

Shekou is allowing export containers into the terminal three days in advance of expected vessel calls.

"As more cargoes are diverted to Nansha and epidemic prevention measures for Covid-19 are also implemented in Guangzhou, we see traffic congestion and it could take five hours for empty container pick-up or laden container gate-in," Maersk said in its advisory on Thursday.