Meidong Port Closure Update

Major Ningbo terminal shutdowns following COVID outbreak

Last Wednesday, the Meidong container terminal in Ningbo port suspended operations after a worker tested positive to COVID-19. 

The closure of the terminal, which handles about a quarter of the port’s total volume, marks the second major closure in China this year, after Yantian Port closed back in May due to a similar COVID outbreak. 

All inbound and outbound container operations at the facility have been redirected to other terminals, adding to the already-present congestion as container vessels line up for dock space.

A view from the back of a container vessel entering a port with tall cranes on the dock.
The Port of Ningbo Source: Ungureanu Catalina Oana/Shutterstock

How much of an impact is the closure having on the port?

While the severity of the impact will depend on how long the terminal is shut for, the domino effect has begun: 

Within two days of the terminal closing, Ningbo’s average number of weekly port calls fell by 70% – from nearly 200 container vessels to fewer than 60 this week. 

So what does that mean? It means a whole lot of traffic –  with 40 vessels waiting to anchor for a berth outside Ningbo, and an additional 30 container ships parked outside the Port of Shanghai. 

According to experts, the current average wait time for a berth is 2-3 days, which is expected to worsen as the terminal remains closed. 

On top of this, the Port of Shanghai recorded its worst congestion in three years, due to the Yantian Port closure, as well as extreme weather conditions that delayed service times.

So, when will it open back up?

This is part of the problem – we don’t know. Authorities are holding off on all trucking, container yard and dockside activity until the extent of the outbreak is determined.

What does it mean for the global supply chain?

It’s bad news all round: Expect shipping delays and stretching order lead times as congestion continues to mount.

Carriers are also left with the hard decision of skipping Ningbo in order to maintain their schedule, which, as it stands, has resulted in 37 blanked sailings. 

Luckily at McHugh & Eastwood, we’ve got our finger on the pulse and are supplying our clients with regular updates and streamlined solutions to their affected shipments.

If your freighting stress is as congested as Ningbo, then it’s time to get in contact with the Mchugh & Eastwood team, for clarity in these clouded times.

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