Container ships left stranded by overwhelmed ports
August 13, 2021 - An outbreak of Covid-19 has partially closed one of the world’s busiest container ports, Ningbo-Zhoushan in China – adding to a global logjam of around 370 container ships stuck outside ports across the world.
The partial closure of Chinas's Ningbo-Zhoushan port due to an outbreak of Covid-19, is yet another blow to global supply chains, raising fears that ports around the world could soon face the same kind of outbreaks and consequent restrictions that slowed freight shipping down last year as the pandemic first took hold.
It is believed a fully vaccinated Ningbo port worker picked up Covid-19, after coming into close contact with sailers on foreign cargo ships, and is currently asymptomatic, that is to say, shows no signs of infection himself but could infect others.
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted that ports are in dire need of upgrading – since before the virus broke out, they were under pressure to update their infrastructure to automate operations and build facilities that can handle a new generation of larger ships.
As of August 11, there were some 370+ container ships stuck outside ports around the world, with some of them, such as at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in the U.S., having to wait up to 12 days to berth and unload.
The logjam is causing stock shortages, delivery delays and price hikes – frustrating consumers who have become reliant on online shopping in an age of lockdowns – leading to soaring freight rates on the main shipping routes between China, the U.S. and Europe.