Chinese container terminal reopens two weeks after Covid-19 closure

Operations have resumed at the Meshian trade zone and the container terminal in the Ningbo-Zhoushan port complex in southern China, local government officials from the Chinese city of Ningbo have confirmed.

The officials cited success in containing the recent outbreak of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in the region. However, it urged continued measures to prevent the reoccurrence and will be continuing strict testing regimes as part of China’s zero-tolerance policy for the virus.

Yard operations began shortly after midnight on August 25th. Two weeks earlier they had been ordered by the health authorities to suspend all operations after a single worker in the terminal complex tested positive for the virus.

Gate in-and-out operations resumed and were reported to be running normally. The port is urging businesses to prioritize the loading and unloading of stranded trucks.

Maersk has advised customers of the terminal’s reopening. It also reported that the Ningbo Bluedragon LongFei warehouse operation had also resumed and they said that it was expected that it would be completely back to normal on September 1st.

Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at BIMCO predicted that it “could take up to 60 days for operations at the port to return to normal as workers and maritime pilots return from quarantine. That meant that retailers around the world would face continued disruption as they moved to increase stock levels ahead of the holiday shopping season.

Tracking company Oceanbolt said that the congestion and backups had spread to many of China’s major ports. It reported that double the number of ships were waiting to access China’s 60 major ports.

Security consultant GardaWorld said in an advisory that “lingering delays are most likely to impact shipping services from Cosco, CMA CGM, and Evergreen, which primarily use the terminal. However, companies that have operations or store cargo in the Meishan free port area may continue to experience delays. Increased congestion is also likely to persist at nearby ports due to previous ship diversions.”