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Tianjin Explosion Won’t Derail Apparel Industry

It’s been two weeks since a series of deadly explosions at a chemical warehouse in the Chinese port city of Tianjin killed at least 139 people and the cause of the blast is still unknown. But while many businesses are trying to gauge how the incident has impacted trade lanes, textile and apparel companies can rest easy.

“The explosion has probably had its strongest impact on the automotive, real estate, chemical and travel industries,” said Melody Kong, a business analyst at Shanghai-based China Market Research Group. “The apparel industry has probably been affected as well but to a lesser extent.”

More than 500 people are still hospitalized with cuts, burns and other injuries from the explosions, which started around 11:30 p.m. local time on Aug. 12 and could be felt as far as six miles away, and thousands more have been displaced from their homes. Port operations returned to normal within five days and clean-up work is ongoing at the site of the blast.

Kong continued, “The main impact of the explosion on the apparel industry would be on the transport and storage of finished apparel and on products being imported or exported through the Tianjin port. Many companies have had to re-route products for export through either the Dalian or Qingdao ports increasing their costs.”

Twelve people, including current and retired government officials and executives of Tianjin Ruihai International Logistics, the company that owned the warehouse, were detained Thursday in connection with the explosion and Chinese authorities accused 11 others of negligence.