The temporary suspension of operations at Ningbo Meidong container terminal due to Covid has already put the major shipping companies on alert. They are already trying to protect themselves from the possible repercussions that this event could have on their service schedule.
In a customer news bulletin, for example, Hapag Lloyd warns: “With this sudden suspension, we expect a delay in planned sailings that might affect your cargo planning. Please know that we are working on alternatives, and hope for your understanding on a matter that is beyond our control.”
It is likely, therefore, that the big carrier is considering the possibility of diverting its ships to neighbouring ports rather than waiting for the gradual resumption of operations in China’s third most important hub port.
Other shipping lines may soon follow suit. Unless they already have done. Lloyd’s List reports that the 4,253 TEU container ship Cosco Venice, part of Cosco Shipping’s Gulf of Mexico Express service, has been diverted to South China along the coast, directly skipping Meishan.
The suspension of operations at Meishan has certainly had a negative impact on all the other terminals in Ningbo port, which appear to be heavily congested: the average waiting time for a berth is now 2-3 days.
The Meishan terminal alone handles 20% of the total containers loaded and unloaded at the port.
Translation by Giles Foster