Explained: How will the Ningbo port shutdown in China impact global trade?
In what could potentially threaten global supply chains and impact maritime trade, China has partially shut down the world’s third-busiest container port after a worker there tested positive for Covid-19. The Meishan terminal at Ningbo-Zhoushan port, which is south of Shanghai, accounts for over a fourth of the container cargo handled at the Chinese port.
What happened at the port?
According to the South China Morning Post, a 34-year-old worker, who had been fully vaccinated with two doses of the Sinovac vaccine, tested positive for Covid-19. He was asymptomatic. Following this, port authorities locked down the terminal area and the bonded warehouse, and suspended operations at the terminal indefinitely.
Given the rest of the port is still functional, the traffic meant for Meishan is being redirected to other terminals.
What is the potential impact of the closure?
Despite the diversion of shipments to other terminals, experts are anticipating a backlog of consignments with average wait times being expected to rise.
In May, port authorities at the Shenzhen’s Yantian port in China had similarly shut down operations to contain the spread of Covid-19. The wait time back then had increased to around nine days.
The South China Morning Post reported that the Meishan terminal mainly services trade destinations in North America and Europe. In 2020, it handled 5,440,400 TEUs of containers.
During the first half of 2021, the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port handled the most cargo among all Chinese ports, at 623 million tonnes.
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