20 August 2021


The port authority in Ningbo, China announced this week that it is planning a phased resumption at Meishan Terminal, which was closed on 11 August after a dock worker tested positive for coronavirus. Since then, no new cases have been detected, according to health authorities. Nevertheless, the delays and rerouting that ensued from the shutdown will continue to reverberate throughout other ports and continually cause congestion in the global supply chains.

The provider of digital supply chain visibility project44 noted: “Port authorities had previously signalled a possible reopening date of 6 September, but if a phased reopening begins this week to tackle the backlog, a full resumption of operations may be possible by the beginning of September.” Even though the remaining terminal in Ningbo have been able to manage the daily container traffic or around 77,000 teu corresponding to 90 percent of the flow, the current situation resulting from the Ningbo shutdown will continually generate challenges in the coming weeks. As of August 18, a total of 80 container vessels comprising 393,650 teu are waiting to unload and reload goods at Ningbo's remaining terminals, according to VesselsValue. Carriers are also omitting the port for the rest of August in order to avoid getting caught in the congestion at anchorage. According to project44 data, the average number of weekly port calls to Ningbo plummeted 22% from nearly 188 container vessels to 146 last week which coincides with the volume of container cargo the terminal handles.

This is the second shutdown of at a major Chinese port after the Yantian Port closure in Shenzhen for over a month in May after a sudden virus outbreak, stoking initial fears of additional supply chain disruptions. The overall situation, however, is not as bad as expected compared to the partial shutdown of Yantian, China, earlier in the year, analyst Lars Jensen from Vespucci Maritime noted.

Source: ShippingWatch, Lloyd’s Loading List