Meishan Port, a key area of the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port, resumed operations last week, after a two-week halt after a Covid-19 case was reported. A total of 41 cargo ships were waiting to dock and have their cargo unloaded at the Meishan Port area, with the port authority expecting 10 to 14 days to deal with the backlog of cargo. The port is expected to become fully operational by September 1. Meishan Port, accounting for one-fifth of the cargo throughput of Ningbo-Zhoushan Port – one of the world’s busiest ports – registered a cargo throughput of 4.1 million TEU from January to July, accounting for 21.9% of the total cargo throughput of Ningbo-Zhoushan Port, according to the port authority.
“The global Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with a shortage of shipping capacity and empty containers, has led to congestion of major ports worldwide,” said Liu Jianping, Director of the Ningbo Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export. “The temporary halt of the Meishan Port area during the past two weeks had left an impact on foreign trade firms in China, and some cargo ships were diverted to other ports in Ningbo. “As a result, cargo handling at the nearby Chuanshan Port area between August 15 and 21 reached 250,600 TEU, an all-time high.
Ningbo-Zhoushan Port suspended all container services and ship operations in the Meishan Port area on August 11, after a worker tested positive for Covid-19 during routine nucleic acid testing. Ningbo-Zhoushan Port topped the world’s annual cargo throughput for 12 years in a row. The daily handling of cargo at the port between August 11 and 17 accounted for almost 90% of the daily container throughput in July. According to the latest data from Zhejiang Seaport Group, the port’s operator, container throughput at Ningbo-Zhoushan Port in Zhejiang province had reached 20 million TEU this year on August 17. It was the first time the target had been met in August, as nine months were usually needed to handle such an amount.
Foreign trade businesses have faced difficulties caused by the shortage of empty containers, the low efficiency of loading and uploading containers at some ports, and rising prices for international shipments, the China Daily reports.