China partly shut down a terminal at the world’s third-busiest port after a worker had tested positive for Covid-19, raising fears of disrupting global trade.
Per a statement on a port’s electronic data platform, until further notice, all outbound and inbound container services at the Meishan terminal of Ningbo-Zhoushan port had been partially paused from 11 August.
The Eastern Chinese city government has reportedly said that a container terminal employee at the port had tested positive for Sars-CoV-2. This is the second recent shutdown of a Chinese port to curb the spread of coronavirus. The first closure took place at the Yantian port in Shenzhen for about a month starting from May end.
The worry is that disruptions like this can strain global shipping and supply of goods, already impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
An extended shut down at Ningbo could be hampering world economic activities as commerce typically rises towards the end of a year as there is a rush to ship Christmas and other holiday items.
Besides the temporarily shut terminal, containers for shipment via other terminals are also expected to move in a sluggish manner. The port is permitted to accept containers only within two days of a vessel’s estimated time of arrival (ETA), per CMA CGM, a shipping and logistics firm.
Those who had come in contact with the infected worker have been traced. They are currently quarantining. A port spokesman has said that there was no new information regarding the case on Thursday.
The suspension indicates that sailings would be delayed.
GardaWorld’s security consultant has reportedly said that the shuttered terminal accounts for about 25% of container cargo via the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port. Thus, a suspension could potentially impact cargo shipping and handling.
The port secured the position of the third-busiest in the world in terms of container shipments in 2020. It is the second busiest port in China following Shanghai.
The local government’s report stated that a port worker testing positive for Covid-19 is an indication that virus-prevention measures in Ningbo city have loopholes.
Such a concern prompts authorities and officials to deploy stringent quarantine measures and disinfection and simultaneous closure of coronavirus-affected areas to prevent further spread of the infection.