Ningbo government unlocks Meishan terminal


Decision to restart operations at the Covid-disrupted Chinese container terminal comes as congestion off Ningbo and nearby Shanghai appears to be improving, with fewer vessels queueing in the anchorage.

The government in Ningbo has formally reopened facilities on Meishan Island, including the port area, after two weeks of lockdown restrictions triggered by a dockworker who contracted coronavirus.

Jiang Yipeng, a vice-president of Ningbo-Zhoushan Port Group, said Meishan terminal had reopened yesterday and was on track to fully recover its services, which had been suspended since August 11. The facility had already resumed some operations in recent days, including enabling gate-in of laden containers, loading vessels at berth and receiving new containership arrivals, Mr Jiang added, with a total of 15 boxships and 29,000 teu of containers handled during the partial reopening.

The closure of Meishan, which accounts for about 20% of Ningbo’s total container throughput, has led to rerouting of vessels and further port congestion. Lloyd’s List Intelligence data show that there were still 97 containerships at anchor off the ports of Ningbo-Zhoushan and nearby Shanghai on 24 August, down from 110 vessels a week ago.

Executives from Orient Overseas International Ltd, part of Cosco Shipping, told analysts that operations at the terminal were expected to be fully restored on September 1. The OOIL management said most of the affected vessels had managed to find accommodation at alternative ports and expected «the disruption to be less severe» than the recent shutdown at Yantian and the Suez Canal incident earlier this year.

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