Ships resume docking at Ningbo port after two-week shutdown
Berthing operations have resumed at the Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan after having been suspended for two weeks. CMA CGM reports that two of its vessels were in the process of completing cargo operations.
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 dockworkers.
|Photo: Stringer/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix BY ANN KOH, BLOOMBERG excerpted from Yahoo.com
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, 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 Aug. 18 and is expected to have a gradual return to full operations in the coming weeks, shipping line CMA CGM SA 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 on Aug. 20. The ships have since left Ningbo, while a separate vessel named the Taurus traveled 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 the Ningbo port’s container throughput, was shut on August 11 after a worker became infected with the delta variant of Covid-19. 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 will last
2.7 million containers queued off the world’s
ports – Ningbo shutdown worsens bottlenecks
Traffic pressure in the world’s largest container ports is now so intense that 2.7 million twenty-foot containers are waiting off ports to unload their goods. Some ships have been waiting for 18 days, shows an analysis from VesselsValue, and the Ningbo shutdown has only exacerbated the problem.
|BY DAG HOLMSTAD, excerpted from ShippingWatch.com
It may prove difficult for the US and many other countries to stock up enough retail goods for the shopping spree that awaits on Black Friday and during the Christmas season.
As a consequence of the traffic pressure in the world’s largest container ports, 2.7 million twenty-foot containers are currently anchored off some of the world’s largest container ports.
More specifically, 409 container vessels loaded with a total of 2,732,133 twenty-foot containers (teu) filled with goods for retail and industry are currently waiting in line to unload their cargo, according to a new analysis prepared by VesselsValue for ShippingWatch.
Over the past nine days, the shut down container terminal Meishan in major Chinese port Ningbo has only exacerbated the chaos in global supply chains.
Thousands of containers waiting
As of August 18, a total of 80 container vessels comprising 393,650 teu are waiting to unload and reload goods at Ningbo’s remaining terminals, according to VesselsValue.
Marking the longest waiting period, one container vessel has been in line for more than nine days.
In another major Chinese port, Zhoushan, 100 container vessels totaling 457,869 teu are awaiting permission and entry at the terminals to unload their goods, with the longest waiting period being more than five days.
On the US west coast at Long Beach, California, one of the largest container ports in the US, issues with queues and bottlenecks are major as well, shows the analysis from VesselsValue.
33 container vessels are queued outside the port, totaling 255,333 teu, with one container vessel waiting for more than 18 days.
Good and bad news
According to shipping analyst Lars Jensen at Vespucci Maritime, there are both good and bad news about the precarious situation in global supply chains.
The good news, according to Jensen, is that the Meishan terminal at Ningbo, which was shut down on August 11, has now reopened.
The news about a reopening have yet to be confirmed, however, both by Chinese authorities as well as the carriers.
The bad news, on the other hand, is that even though the remaining terminals have been able to somewhat manage the daily container traffic of around 77,000 teu, corresponding to 90 percent of the flow, the delays and rerouting that ensued from the shutdown will continue to reverberate throughout other ports and continually cause congestion in the global supply chains, Jensen explains.
The current situation resulting from the Ningbo shutdown will continually generate challenges in coming weeks. The overall situation, however, is not as bad as expected compared to the partial shutdown of Yantian, China, earlier in the year, Jensen concludes.
China bulker pileup dwarfs California container-ship gridlock
COVID restrictions in China push dry bulk congestion to all-time high
excerpted from Freightwaves.com – Greg Miller, Senior Editor
Container ships stuck off Los Angeles/Long Beach are grabbing the headlines — with a record-tying 40 at anchor on Friday. But there’s another massive shipping traffic jam out there, one that’s holding up even more cargo.
This other, less-publicized tale of seaborne gridlock is set in China and it’s not about container ships, it’s about dry bulk carriers.
|Idle bulk carriers off the coast of China and in the Yangtze River on Friday (Map: MarineTraffic)
Bulker congestion has now risen to historic highs as China enforces stricter COVID rules for arriving vessels. And what happens in China will be felt in America. Every bulker
stuck at anchor in China is one less ship that’s available to load U.S. soybeans, corn, wheat and coal — pushing spot freight rates for U.S. bulk exports higher.
“It is staggering how much congestion there is [in China],” said Martyn Wade, CEO of Grindrod Shipping (NASDAQ: GRIN), on a conference call with analysts on Thursday.
Highest congestion on record
According to Nick Ristic, lead dry cargo analyst at Braemar ACM Shipbroking, there were 1,692 bulkers worldwide . . . waiting in queues in mid-August, equating to 15.9% of global capacity. That was “the highest level we have on record and about 15% higher year on year,” he said. In comparison, U.K.-based data provider VesselsValue reported that there are 409 container ships stuck in congestion worldwide with an aggregate capacity of 2.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units. Not only are there far more bulkers tied up than box ships, but a typical bulk vessel carries much more cargo (measured by weight) than the average container ship.
China is driving the rise in global dry bulk congestion, comprising more than a third of the total, said Ristic. Bulker congestion in China hit 52.7 million DWT in mid-August, representing 6% of global capacity, up 28% from mid-July and 23% year on year. Bulker congestion was also high outside of China, but in line with seasonal norms.
(Charts: Braemar ACM Shipbroking)
U.K.-based forecasting and advisory company Maritime Strategies International (MSI) highlighted the same trend. In its latest sector outlook, it cited data from Oceanbolt showing 405 bulkers waiting outside Chinese ports on Aug. 12 for more than five days, compared to 261 on the same day last year and 113 on that day in 2019, pre-pandemic.
The flashpoint in China is the Yangtze River region. Ristic said it accounts for “about 18% of total bulker congestion in China and it has become a particularly bad bottleneck for geared vessels [bunkers with onboard cranes].”
COVID rules keep bulkers at bay
Congestion in container shipping is primarily caused by COVID-era changes in consumer spending, whereas congestion in dry bulk shipping is primarily caused by COVID precautions at ports.
COVID rules have caused bulker delays throughout the year, but this month’s delta variant outbreak in China brought restrictions to a whole new level.
“We’ve heard reports that on the Yangtze, they’re talking about all river pilots having to do compulsory quarantine,” said Wade.
According to Ristic, “Regardless of how long vessels have been at sea since their last port call, their risk level is reportedly being assessed by authorities based on factors such as crew nationality and boarding time, navigation route, and cargo on board. On top of this, quarantine measures have greatly reduced the number of pilots operating on the river, which has been slashed up to 50% versus normal levels.
“At other ports, we are hearing reports of mandatory quarantine periods, cargo operations not being allowed to proceed until negative PCR test results are obtained and other protocols,” added Ristic.
According to Argus Media, “Many Chinese coastal ports require a 14-day quarantine for imported cargoes after they depart from ports in other countries — including Indonesia, India and Laos — before they can berth. Some other Chinese ports, including Nanjing and Changshu along the Yangtze River, require a 21-day quarantine. The Liuheng terminal at east China’s Zhoushan port requires a quarantine as long as 28 days. All crew members must take COVID-19 test before vessels are allowed to discharge their cargoes.”