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One of China’s Largest and Most Strategic Ports Partially Closed Due to COVID

One of China’s largest ports, key to strategic global trade, has partially closed due to COVID-19 fears.

Part of the Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan shut down this week after a port worker tested positive for the COVID-19 Delta variant. The COVID-19 fears at Ningbo-Zhoushan are just the latest of China’s COVID woes as part of a larger countrywide outbreak, the largest since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020.

As the world’s third-busiest port, Ningbo-Zhoushan is strategic to global shipping, and the latest closure further complicates an already-stressed shipping industry and delayed supply chain. Some of the port’s shipping terminals will be closed for the foreseeable future as quarantine precautions are taken. As a result of the closure, the port’s cargo capacity has been reduced dramatically, and further slowdowns are already being felt in China and beyond.

Before the closure, there were already issues for Asia-U.S. shipping.

Freight rates were already at all-time highs, which was pushing many shippers to not ship goods or absorb huge unexpected costs. This was a result of several things including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupting demand, the Suez Canal incident in March 2021, empty sailings, and an ongoing container shortage.

Now, with the holiday season fast approaching, and goods being produced for that time period already, the shutdown has complicated delivery schedules even further and placed another burden on consumer goods brands. Of course, every subsequent event that happened in the shipping industry this year, from the Suez Canal to the container shortage and more, this only further complicated matters and made the supply chain shake under increased pressure. This latest incident only moves the industry further away from stability.

Asia-U.S. trade routes have particularly been hit hard by all of the past year and a half of events. This latest disruption is likely to be felt right here at home, if the closures drag on.

China is taking COVID-19 very seriously, with the port closing after one case.

After a huge COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020 that kicked off the COVID-19 pandemic, China is not taking anything to chance. Therefore, with just one case this time at the port, they closed much of the port down, even though it is key to China’s economic activity. If COVID-19 becomes a larger problem in China, one can only imagine the measures the country may also take that may further affect global shipping.

At MTS Logistics, we will keep you up-to-date on all COVID-related disruptions, changes in global shipping, and ongoing challenges.

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