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Yantian container port resumes full operations

  • The container port, one of the world’s busiest, is fully back in business
  • The activities of the 20 berths in the port’s central and western sections all resumed on June 24 as the COVID-19 epidemic has been placed under control
  • This will help restore the global supply of electronic consumer goods, electrical machinery, household appliances, medical equipment, auto parts and furniture, much of which is manufactured in China’s Pearl River Delta region
  • The number of workers at the port has gone up to nearly 4,500 from 360 when the outbreak initially occurred in late May

The Port of Yantian, a major foreign-trade port in Shenzhen City in southern China’s Guangdong Province, has resumed 100% operations after a month-long disruption that triggered congestion, vessel delays and tangled global supply chains.

The activities of the 20 berths in the port’s central and western sections all resumed on June 24 as the epidemic in the port area has been effectively contained.

Ships from 13 international routes docked on the morning of June 24, the Yantian International Container Terminal (YICT) said.

The Yantian port, one of the world’s busiest container ports, reduced operational berths from 20 to five after an asymptomatic COVID-19 carrier was reported in the international cargo-ship handling zone on May 21.

The outbreak of coronavirus cases among dockworkers led to the partial suspension of operations as local authorities carried disinfection and containment measures.

Shipping companies, including Maersk, COSCO Shipping Lines and CMA CGM, have all warned customers that it would take several weeks to clear up the immense container backlog in the region that has put strains on global supply chains over the past four weeks, reported China Daily.

Yantian Port’s resumption of normal operations is seen to help restore the global supply of electronic consumer goods, electrical machinery, household appliances, medical equipment, auto parts and furniture, much of which is manufactured in China’s Pearl River Delta region.

As one of China’s major container shipping ports, Yantian Port serves more than one-third of Guangdong’s foreign trade and one-fourth of the country’s trade with the United States, according to the district government of Yantian.

“Currently, there are 23 ships conducting loading operations at the port,” said Lawrence Shum, managing director of Hutchison Ports Yantian, the operator of Yantian Port.

Workers at the port now number 4,462 from 360 when the outbreak initially occurred in late May, and all of the berths at the port’s central and western areas where confirmed COVID-19 cases were discovered have resumed operations.

The berths’ total throughput reaches 33,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

Yuan Huyong, deputy head of the Yantian Port command center for COVID-19 control and prevention, said the government will continue to impose strict COVID-19 prevention and control measures on high-risk personnel working at the port to ensure its safe and efficient operation.

The terminal of Yantian Port serves 100 vessels per week. Its container throughput reached 13.35 million containers in 2020, up 2.13% year-on-year, accounting for 50.28% of the container throughput of Shenzhen’s port areas, according to the Yantian Maritime Safety Administration.

“With the easing of the pandemic in Europe and the US and the continuous introduction of consumption stimulus plans, global demand has picked up, and the demand for shipping logistics has gradually increased. However, the recovery cycle of shipping capacity has not been realized as quickly,” noted a think tank based in Shenzhen.

“Due to Asia-wide COVID-19 flareups, we have seen a return of manufacturing to China for products normally produced elsewhere to take advantage of China’s relatively stable manufacturing base,” said Ditlev Blicher, managing director of Maersk Asia Pacific, a part of A.P. Moller-Maersk, the Danish shipping and logistics giant.

Photo by Gigel.atat 

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