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Photo: Chen Changjun/VCG via Getty Images

A key shipping port in Yantian, in southern China, is nearly back to full capacity after a recent COVID outbreak partially shut down operations.

Why it matters: Delays of up to 16 days were reported by shipping giant Maersk last month, threatening to slow down already logjammed global supply chains even further.

  • Waiting periods are now down to half a day on average, Maersk reports, with productivity at the port back to 85% of normal levels. 

By the numbers: Yantian and neighboring ports are among the busiest in the world, but they’re far from the only ports seeing delays. 

  • Globally, schedule reliability remains below 40%, according to Denmark-based Sea Intelligence, compared to levels above 70%-80% in 2019. 
  • More than 400 ships traveling between Asia and the West Coast were late by more than two weeks during the first five months of this year. Compare that to 388 vessels in total that were late between 2012 and 2020.

What to watch: Retailers are concerned that existing backlogs may delay upcoming holiday season shipments.

  • The National Retail Federation urged President Biden in a letter last month to address supply chain issues as part of the administration’s Build Back Better infrastructure plan. 

Go deeper

Port of Houston targeted in attempted cyber attack

An industrial facility near the Houston Ship Channel, part of the Port of Houston. Photo: LOREN ELLIOTT/AFP via Getty Images

The Port of Houston, a critical port on the Gulf Coast, "successfully defended itself" against an attempted cyberattack last month, it said in a news release Thursday.

State of play: Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly first told a Senate panel about the attack Thursday morning, adding that she believed a “nation-state actor” was behind it.

Updated 46 mins ago - Technology

Pandemic gave cover to online dating scams

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Crooked Casanovas used online dating scams to steal an estimated $500 million from lonely victims last year, according to a new analysis of government fraud data by Atlas VPN, an internet security provider.

Why it matters: The isolation of the lingering pandemic provided cover to fraudulent suitors who had an excuse for not meeting up in person even as they fleeced their would-be lovers out of gift cards, money — even cryptocurrency.

Updated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — New York Supreme Court grants stay for indoor mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker