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Vessel Operations Begin Restart at China’s Ningbo Container Terminal

vessel movements resume at Chinese container terminal
Vessel movements resumed at China's Meishan Container Terminal (Zhoushan goverment)

Published Aug 24, 2021 3:02 PM by The Maritime Executive

Operations at the Chinese container terminal closed two weeks ago after a worker tested positive for COVID-19 are slowly starting to resume. The first ships have been permitted to depart and arrive at the Meishan container terminal in the Ningbo-Zhoushan port complex. It is now anticipated that operations will continue to ramp up over the next week and be fully restored at the end of the month.

CMA CGM confirmed that operations resumed in an announcement to customers advising them that two vessels, the CMA CGM Rivoli and CMA CGM Samson, that had been at the terminal were permitted to resume their cargo operations starting on August 18. Both of these vessels departed Ningbo over the weekend sailing to Yantian, China. The carrier also confirmed that its vessel the CMA CGM Elbe, which had been in the Ningbo anchorage since August 16 after arriving from Qingdao, was permitted to move to the Meishan terminal on August 23 to begin cargo operations.

In its last customer update on August 20, CMA CGM, however, advised that yard operations remained suspended at that moment. The carrier was hopeful that the yard would also shortly reopen. However, CMA CGM reported that three containerships would be omitting calls at Ningbo-Zhoushan this week while seven were expected to divert to alternate terminals.

Maersk and other shipping lines including Hapag-Lloyd have yet to provide updates on the situation at Ningbo-Zhoushan. Both carriers previously reported that they had begun to blank a few sailings to the port and divert ships to other terminals.

News that vessels were again being permitted at the Meshian terminal came after Chinese officials said that no new cases of the COVID-19 virus had been reported. Official statements credited the zero-tolerance policy saying that the airport would also be permitted to resume flights to Beijing and other cities.

As with the previous closure at Yantian, Chinese officials have not confirmed the extent of the backlog that formed at Ningbo and in the supply chain. Typically, the overall port complex handles upward of 85,000 boxes a week as well as unreported figures for breakbulk. The Ningbo-Zhoushan port complex is the third busiest in the world and China’s second-largest container port. Last week, it was reported that the port’s volume had fallen by approximately 10 percent to 77,000 boxes.

While Ningbo-Zhoushan appears successful in its containment efforts, elsewhere in China COVID-19 cases continue to appear. On August 20, two cargo workers at Shanghai’s Pudong Air Cargo Terminal reportedly tested positive for the virus at what is China’s largest air cargo terminal. The closure of this terminal is putting additional pressure on China’s supply chain.