Container Ship Movement At Suspended Port Terminal In China Signals Imminent Reopening

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Aug 24, 2021 - 11:05 PM

Container ships resumed berthing operations after a two-week shutdown at one of the world's busiest ports in China, according to Bloomberg

The two-week closure of the Meishan Terminal in Ningbo, China, was due to a COVID infection at the port earlier this month. Chinese authorities suspended operations at the terminal, causing massive shipping delays and container backlogs. 

The Meishan terminal handles about a quarter of the port's volume and caused severe vessel congestion at the terminal and other surrounding ports. We noted this in a recent shipping note titled "China's Top Port Shuttered For Seventh Day As Congestion Crisis Spreads." 

Shipping data compiled by Bloomberg shows five container ships have left the Meishan terminal in the past few days after berthing. Ningbo-Zhoushan port office released a notice Monday outlining the terminal was still closed. Still, the good news is the movement of vessels around the terminal has sparked optimism among shippers that full capacity could imminently return as long as there are no new COVID infections. 

Shipping line CMA CGM SA told customers that Meishan terminal resumed partial operations on Aug. 18 and expected full operations by mid-September. Two of the French company's ships, Rivoli and the Samson, were being loaded and would depart from the terminal "very soon," the shipper said. Bloomberg data already shows the two vessels have already left the Ningbo region. 

Ningbo port's container throughput has been slashed by a quarter since Aug. 11, and congestion at other major Chinese ports has soared. Here is some data on the congestion in Asia from last week. 

Source: Bloomberg

Throughput at the port will likely increase in the coming days in stages to whittle down the backlog of containers, with a full resumption of operations by mid-September. 

However, increasing throughput at Ningbo could be bad news if departed vessels are headed for US West Coasts due to port congestion is at record highs

The global supply chain remains an utter mess.