Chinese port of Ningbo shuts down terminal due to corona infection

The port authorities of Ningbo (China) shut down the Meishan container terminal on Wednesday and blocked all shipping traffic to and from the terminal until further notice. The Ningbo city government said that the terminal is closed because a 34-year-old dock worker has got corona. The port itself spoke of a ‘system failure’. This was reported by our sister publication Nieuwsblad Transport.

The port of Ningbo, one of the world’s largest ports, is a relevant port for rail freight traffic too. It is one of the ports where cargo is reloaded, to continue the journey by vessel to Japan or Korea. The other way around, cargo originating from Far East markets are loaded on the China-Europe train here. Alternatively, cargo is further shipped to the Russian port of Vladivostok for land transit via the Trans-Siberian corridor.

The Chinese authorities still apply a zero tolerance approach: with a single infection, everything is pulled out to prevent a further outbreak. For example, the port of Shenzhen, which together with Shanghai, Singapore and Ningbo makes up the top 4 largest container ports, was closed for about a month in Spring due to a number of corona infections.

Holding its breath

The logistics world is therefore holding its breath now that another major container terminal has been shut down. If things go wrong in Ningbo, the situation there could cause just as much of a logistical drama as it did in Shenzhen, fears Danish maritime expert Lars Jensen.

The Meishan terminal accounts for about a quarter of the container throughput in Ningbo. Although most of this ocen shipping, there are some successful sea-rail services that run through the port of Ningbo. An example is the service by MSC connecting Europe, Japan and Korea, amongst others via Ningbo, or the recently launched Finland Bridge by FESCO Transportation Group, RZD Logistics and Nurminen Logistics.

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Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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