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Ningbo Meishan terminal may re-open on 1 September

Staff at Ningbo Meishan Island International Container Terminal (MSICT), which has been closed for the seventh straight day as of 17 August, told Container News that they hope the terminal can resume normal operations on 1 September.

The terminal stopped operations from 3:30 am local time on 11 August, after a worker tested positive for Covid-19.

MSICT staff said that the backlog is less severe than in Yantian in June, as many liner operators have diverted ships to other terminals in Ningbo port or are skipping Ningbo.

Calls to Chinese ship agency PENAVICO indicated that the situation in MSICT may improve by the end of the month.

In an updated customer advisory on 16 August, Maersk Line said that a few vessels which call MSICT have started to move to other terminals in Ningbo port.

Vessels operated by the Danish carrier and its 2M alliance partner, MSC, mainly call Ningbo Beilun Container Terminal Phase 4, which has a two-day waiting time.

Ships plying the Asia-West Africa service call Ningbo-Zhoushan Yongzhou Terminal which has a waiting time of two days.

Other Ningbo-Zhoushan port’s terminals are operating normally.

Additionally, ships on Maersk Line’s AC6 Asia- South America service will skip calls at Ningbo.

Moreover, Ocean Network Express (ONE) said that its main terminals in Ningbo-Zhoushan port are Ningbo Beilun International Container Terminal and Ningbo Daxie International Terminal. There is thus, no immediate impact on the company’s operations.

However, the Singaporean box line said, “some vessels originally planned to call MSICT may move their calls to other terminals which in turn may impact upon our operations in the future.”

Source: Container News


Covid-19 hits Ningbo, fears of “the next Yantian”

Liner operators have advised customers to expect delays following the closure of Ningbo Meishan Island International Container Terminal (MSICT) after a worker there tested positive for Covid-19.

Following confirmation of the worker’s infection, MSICT suspended all operations from 3:30 am local time on 11 August. Other terminals in Ningbo, China’s second busiest container port, restricted gating-in of outbound containers to two days before the estimated arrival of the ships.

Overall, the number of vessels at anchor at Zhoushan increased to 39 as of 13 August from 28 on 10 August, according to the HSBC Global Research report.

However, Linerlytica analyst, Tan Hua Joo told Container News that there is no reason to panic yet. “MSICT accounts for 19% of the total container volumes at Ningbo. If the closure is limited only to MSICT, the situation would still be manageable as long as the closure does not escalate to the other terminals,” he explained.

On the other hand, an analysis by Russell Group’s ALPS Marine platform indicates that the partial closure of the port of Ningbo threatens US$172 billion’s worth of global trade and the export of US$39.2 billion’s worth of Integrated Circuit Boards (ICBs).

Many experts are worried that the disruption may have a large impact on the holiday season, particularly in the US, according to the analysis.

“The closure of Ningbo comes hot on the heels of the recent disruption at Yantian and both serve as a timely reminder to organisations and (re)insurers alike of the fragility of global trade,” highlighted Suki Basi, CEO of Russell Group, which is a solutions provider company.

“Fragility that means that any slight disruption to the network of trade, whether that be a closure of a port or a blockage of a shipping route, creates chaos for shippers, global supply chains and ultimately consumers,” explains Suki Basi.

Moreover, Parash Jain, Head of Shipping & Ports & Asia Transport Research at HSBC, noted this terminal shutdown in Ningbo could trigger another rally in freight rates, as MSICT suspension “fuels fear of heightened congestions and even higher freight rates.”

“If the terminal doesn’t reopen immediately, it could be the next Yantian,” he pointed out.

In the meantime, French liner operator CMA CGM told customers that cargo operations of its ships, the 8,533TEU CMA CGM Samson and 23,104TEU CMA CGM Rivoli, which have been at MSICT since 9 August and 10 August, are temporarily suspended until the terminal resumes operations. The ships are serving the Transpacific and Asia-Europe lanes, respectively.

Following contingency planning, CMA CGM has delayed the expected arrivals of 17,722TEU CMA CGM Kerguelen in Ningbo from 13 August to 16 August.

The 8,533TEU CMA CGM Melisande, which was supposed to have gone to Ningbo and then Shanghai, has had its rotation reversed, and is scheduled to arrive in Shanghai on 18 August, before going on to Ningbo on 20 August.

Additionally, CMA CGM Centaurus, which serves the French carrier’s Columbus PNW Asia-US West Coast service, will omit its call at Ningbo.

Besides CMA CGM Rivoli and CMA CGM Samson, four other container ships, Evergreen Marine Corporation’s Ital Lunare, KMTC Line-operated Sunny Rose, COSCO Shipping Lines’ Xin Ri Zhao and Dong Young Shipping’s Pegasus Tera, have been waiting in MSICT since 9/10 August.

Meanwhile, the 2M Alliance comprising Maersk Line and MSC said that their Ningbo-bound vessels will mainly call at Ningbo Beilun Container Terminal Phase 4, which has a current waiting time of 1.5 to two days.

“A few vessels which call MSICT started to move to other terminals in Ningbo port,” stated Maersk.

The Danish carrier’s AC6 Asia- South America service calls at MSICT and next week’s port call involving Seaspan Oceania will omit Ningbo.

Furthermore, trucking related to empty and laden return from/to MSICT has been suspended from 11 August until further notice, while the Ningbo Blue Dragon Longfei warehouse around the affected terminal has also halted its operations from 11 August until further notice.

Source: Container News


Ningbo and Shanghai, the world’s two largest ports, experience unprecedented congestion

The world’s two largest ports are experiencing unprecedented volumes of tankers, bulk carriers and containerships back up into the East China Sea as a combination of renewed Covid cases, fierce weather and strong US demand creates further supply chain havoc.

Ningbo and Shanghai, the world’s two largest ports, experience unprecedented congestion

Ningbo-Zhoushan and Shanghai to the north handled 1.17bn and 510m tons in 2020, marking them out once again as the world’s top two ports. In container terms, they’re also on the podium – Shanghai ranked number one in the world with Ningbo-Zhoushan in third place.

The two ports were hit hard by a typhoon late last month and have seen productivity slow as new anti-Covid measures are being carried out at most Chinese quaysides in the wake of the sudden spread of the delta variant of Covid-19 over the past three weeks.

Copenhagen-based Sea-Intelligence has carried out a data-led inspection of container port congestion at 22 ports around the world. The results, published yesterday, show Shanghai and Ningbo recently coming under huge pressure from growing congestion (see inset graph).

Putting these figures in context, among the 22 ports surveyed, only Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Vietnam had more severe congestion than China’s big two ports.

China ports congestion

“In terms of Ningbo and Shanghai, this might be an early warning of coming impact of more Covid restrictions in China, as the delta variant appears to continue to be present,” Sea-Intelligence noted in its most recent weekly report.

The huge volume of boxships at anchor at the two ports is carried in a map below created for Splash by Danish liner consultancy eeSea.

When a Covid-19 outbreak was detected at Yantian Port in late May, operations at the key southern Chinese export hub were slashed by 70% for most of June.

Since July 20, community-spread infections have been confirmed in roughly half of China’s provinces, sparking mass testing operations and localised lockdowns.

Newly reported positive Covid-19 cases in China have recently forced the country to re-introduce restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

Most ports in the country are now requiring a nucleic acid test (NAT) for all crew, with vessels forced to remain at anchor until negative results are confirmed.

Many ports in the country are also requiring vessels to quarantine for 14-28 days if they previously berthed in India or performed a crew change within 14 days of arriving in China.

Lars Jensen, CEO of liner consultancy Vespucci Maritime, commented via LinkedIn last week, “Ever since the Yantian port partial close-down it has been clear that a risk for the container shipping sector would be the emergence of more Covid cases in other parts of China.”

On Monday, China reported 125 new Covid-19 cases, up from 96 a day earlier.

While Ningbo and Shanghai have the most amount of ships at anchor waiting for berth space, the global container port congestion looks increasingly worse as the below map compiled today by eeSea shows – the bubbles indicating ships backing up across five continents.

Source: splash247