Vessels are diverting from the Ningbo Meidong Container Terminal, one of China’s busiest marine transportation hubs, to other terminals. Ningbo Container Terminal was forced to lock down and suspend operations of container gate-in and gate-out from 11th August until further notice, after a case of Covid-19 was detected on a 34-tear-old worker.
The infected employee was part of the workforce at Ningbo Meidong Container Terminal and was fully vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine. However it’s not known which variant we are talking about. Close contacts were placed under observation, and no more cases are reported.
China is facing its largest COVID outbreak since the eruption of the pandemic in 2020. Thus is the country operating a zero-COVID strategy, forcing the country to re-introduce intensive restrictions to reduce the spread of the virus, triggering severe travel restrictions, locking down whole cities, and testing entire populations, when COVID cases are detected.
After the positive case was detected, the Ningbo Meidong Container Terminal ceased immediately all operations and locked down the port area. The terminal is under lock down and all in and out trucking related movement is suspended until further notice.
However, other Ningbo-Zhoushan port’s terminals are operating normally. Some of the vessels have been waiting for days, where some other vessels started to move to other terminals in Ningbo port. According to Reuters, a total of 40 container ships were anchored off the coat of Ningbo last Friday. Container operators as Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd said that few of their vessels will be rerouted to other terminals.
Two main concerns are being raised:
- How long will the closure last?
- And what if more cases are being found at other terminals, resulting in a wider scale shutdown of operations?
Earlier this year, at the Yantian International Container Terminal, a COVID outbreak resulted in a three-week shutdown and major disturbance to container shipping globally. Additional disruptions at ports, could cause further delays between the continents.