Container ports in the Chinese city of Wuhan have fully resumed operations, as movement restrictions are gradually lifted in the original Covid-19 epicentre.
Wuhan International Container Co., Ltd, which manages the Wuhan Yangluo Port, said that on 31 March 2020, five vessels called at the port, and 519TEU of containers was processed, with 300TEU of imports and 219TEU of exports.
An industrial city along the Yangtze River, Wuhan’s manufacturing output grew as the Belt and Road initiative gained momentum. However, economic activity ground to a virtual halt when the city was locked down on 23 January 2020, the Lunar New Year’s Eve, as the Chinese government raced to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
Since then, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across Europe and the US, while the infection rate in China has slowed. On 29 March, the epidemic control and prevention authorities in Wuhan’s Xinzhou district permitted Wuhan International Container to restart operations. The following day, 150 employees came to work and attended to 13 ships.
Occupying 180,000m2, Yangluo is Wuhan New Port’s largest wharf, spanning 862m along the Yangtze River. In 2019, Yangluo and the neighbouring multi-purpose port, both managed by the same company, processed 1million TEU, helping Wuhan International Container to become the second largest operator of Chinese river container ports.
Draught limits along the Yangtze River prevent large container ships from sailing between the smaller ports and Shanghai. The Wuhan port is mainly a transhipment conduit to ferry containers from surrounding areas, such as Hunan, Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou and Shaanxi, to Shanghai.
Wuhan International Container estimates that over 63,000TEU was processed from 24 January to 31 March, as shipments of essential goods continued despite the city’s lockdown.