Recent incident in Yantian tempts some to think the worst
There is a line at Ningbo-Zhoushan Port, comprising some 50 ships. It is the 6th day of suspension after a staff was tested positive for COVID-19; similar to Yantian’s case in June 2021.
Ningbo struggles to contain the congestion
On 11 August 2021, Ningbo-Zhoushan port (Meishan terminal) suspended operations till further notice. However, port updates revealed 85,000 TEU and 77,000 TEU worth of cargo were handled on 11 and 13 August 2021 respectively. While Meishan shut down, other terminals at Ningbo Zhoushan port maintained the normal operations.
Ningbo Meishan Terminal handles around 25 per cent of the cargo at Ningbo-Zhoushan, currently redirected to other terminals. On 12 August 2021, project44 said there were 28 ships awaiting berth, east of Ningbo. That figure has doubled in the four days since.
project44’s findings noted the average weekly port calls at Ningbo plummeted by 70 per cent. “From nearly 200 cargo vessels to less than 60 this week. Ocean carriers are diverting and initiating blank sailings to and from the port. We have recorded 37 blank sailings as at 13 August 2021,” it said. Meanwhile, port congestions in Asia, Europe and the US severely impacted carrier services, cutting available capacities as ships sit at anchorage awaiting berths to load and unload cargo.
Familiar advisories and crossed fingers
Not surprising, Maersk announced on 13 August 2021 that vessels due to call on Ningbo Meishan Island International Container Terminal (MSICT) started to divert to other ports within Ningbo. Most of Maersk’s vessels call elsewhere at Ningbo, but six vessels due to call MSICT on its AC6 service in August will omit the port. It reported that nearby Ningbo Beilun Container Terminal Phase 4, which more of its vessels use, had a waiting time of two days. Other carriers have also announced vessels diversions.
Casper Ellerbaek, Senior Vice President of Sea Logistics Asia Pacific at Kuehne + Nagel, wrote in a Linkedin post: “With the Yantian congestion still fresh in memory, it would be easy to succumb to anxiety following the COVID-19 case reported in Meishan terminal on 11th August 2021. This terminal is part of Ningbo-Zhoushan port with a total annual throughput of approximately 28 million TEU.” He concludes in his post with a hopeful note that this remains as a single incident as authorities reacted swiftly to isolate the case.
Marine Online News Team
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