Freight forwarders and liner operators are advising of trucking delays as Ningbo-Zhoushan port continues to operate under closed-loop management, with shippers urged to divert cargoes to Shanghai.
The city, home to China’s second-busiest container port, and the world’s third-busiest box port had a three-day lockdown imposed on 14 October after Covid-19 infections emerged in the Beilun district. The movement restrictions have been extended as more infections continue to be uncovered.
While Ningbo-Zhoushan Port Group asserts that normal operations are continuing, efficiency and trucking availability have slowed as all port workers and truck drivers must take daily nucleic acid tests to ensure they are free of Covid-19.
Consequently, berthing time at Ningbo-Zhoushan has increased, with vessel-tracking data showing 16 container ships in the anchorages since 23 October, and one ship, Eugen Maersk, having been anchored since 22 October.
Maersk Line temporarily suspended detention and demurrage for goods shipped into and out of Ningbo, from 14 to 20 October, while shippers will not face any amendment or cancellation charges for diverting their goods to other Chinese ports, for the period from 14-25 October.
French logistics group Bansard International said that full container operations have yet to resume for sea freight, logistics and trucking in Ningbo.
In its advisory today (24 October), Bansard said that while some areas in Beilun will no longer be locked down, the terminals are facing an acute manpower shortage as only the workers who were in the terminals before the lockdown can still enter the port.
“LCL services remain unavailable but we expect these to resume within the week. Some container yards and warehouses have been reopened,” said the advisory.
Bansard’s compatriot peer, GEODIS, is advising LCL and FCL shippers to switch to Shanghai as an alternative.
GEODIS said that Ningbo-bound trucks must enter through the dedicated high-speed entrance to each container terminal, resulting in a lower number of trucks and truck drivers as well as delays.
Other alternative solutions to minimise the impact caused by the trucking/road restrictions include feeder service from Jiaxing/ Wenzhou/ Taizhou area and rail services from Shaoxing/ Yiwu/ Jinhua area to Ningbo port terminal.
GEODIS stated, “We’re helping some of our customers to inform vendors to deliver cargo to container freight stations in Shanghai. For cargoes that are already in the freight stations, the operation can be continued once the warehouse reopens.”