The Ningbo Meidong Container Terminal, a major terminal at the Port of Ningbo, was shut down indefinitely on Wednesday due to a worker testing positive for Covid-19. At this time, the rest of the Ningbo shipping port remains operational, but the suspension could cause significant problems for container movement in this critical shipping region. Disruptions and congestion are expected at surrounding ports as carriers look for alternatives by rearranging cargo to other terminals and diverting vessels from Ningbo to Shanghai.
The immediate impact of the closure will affect the members of the Ocean Alliance – Cosco, CMA CGM, and Evergreen – who use the terminal regularly. CMA CGM reported that two of the carrier’s ships were already at the terminal when it closed and will remain “on hold” until the terminal is reopened. An additional three vessels will skip Ningbo or reroute to Shanghai. Hapag-Lloyd has three services using the terminals and expects delays in planned sailings.
Ningbo is the third-busiest port in terms of container traffic and consists of five container terminals. If an outbreak spreads and causes the entire port to close, the impact could be far greater than the shutdown in Yantian earlier this summer. Capacity challenges will continue to be an issue, which could further drive up prices, especially heading toward the end of the year when companies are shipping Christmas and holiday products.