Ships resume berthing at halted port terminal in China

Lines of trucks at a container terminal of Ningbo-Zhoushan port on Aug 15, 2021.
Lines of trucks at a container terminal of Ningbo-Zhoushan port on Aug 15, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Ships have resumed berthing operations at a halted container terminal in Ningbo, China, adding to optimism that full activity at one of the world's busiest ports will be restored shortly after a two-week shutdown to quarantine dock workers.

At least five container ships have left the Meishan terminal at Ningbo in the past few days after berthing there, according to shipping data compiled by Bloomberg.

While container collection services were still halted on Tuesday (Aug 24), some ships have been allowed to berth at the terminal, an official from the Ningbo-Zhoushan port said.

The movement of ships is sparking optimism among shippers that operations will resume soon after no new cases of Covid-19 were discovered, according to local media reports.

The Meishan terminal has resumed partial vessel operations since last Wednesday and is expected to have a gradual return to full operations in the coming weeks, shipping line CMA CGM said in an advisory to customers.

Two of the company's ships - the Rivoli and the Samson - were completing cargo operations and would depart the terminal "very soon", the French company said last Friday.

The ships have since left Ningbo, while a separate vessel named the Taurus travelled to Meishan on Sunday and is currently docked there, Bloomberg data showed. CMA's Elbe arrived at the terminal on Monday after waiting at anchorage for a week.

The Meishan terminal, which accounts for about a quarter of Ningbo port's container throughput, was shut on Aug 11 after a worker became infected with the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

The partial closure of the world's third-busiest container port worsened congestion at other major Chinese gateways such as Shanghai, Xiamen and Hong Hong, as ships diverted away amid uncertainty over how long virus control measures in the city would last.