Yantian Reports New TEU Record, While No Updates from Ningbo
China’s Yantian port sought to reassure customers that the port is operating at full capacity and dispel rumors of possible interruptions announcing that it has set a new record for the number of containers handled for a single vessel. This news comes as the industry awaits confirmations of the rumors that the Meishan Terminal in the Ningbo-Zhoushan would begin to resume service.
Hutchison Ports Yantian issued a statement denying rumors on the Internet that the port had begun a quarantine policy requiring ships to wait offshore for 14 days. Their statement said, the rumor was “completely baseless and has seriously damaged the reputation of Yantian.” They reported that the Port of Yantian is operating normally and in July three new international routes had begun from the port.
The Yantian container terminal last week set a record for the number of containers handled as the largest container ship to call at the port made its maiden arrival. Over 8,200 TEU were handled during the maiden call of Evergreen Line’s new 24,000-TEU class Ever Ace on August 11. The new vessel also became the largest containership to call at Yantian and with a rated capacity of 23,992 TEU, it is currently considered to be the largest capacity containership in the world.
After completing cargo handling in Yantian, the Ever Ace departed China on August 14 loaded with a record of 21,710 TEU for the actual carrying volume of a single container vessel. In April, the CMA CGM Jacques Saade departed Singapore carrying 21,433 fully-loaded TEU for what at the time was reported to be the new world’s record.
The Ever Ace is the first of 10 new ultra-large container ships that Evergreen is introducing as the industry continues to ramp up size seeking greater efficiency. The Evergreen boxships are replacing smaller vessels and will operate on the Europe Express Service going directly from Yantian to the Suez Canal and on to Europe. The trip is scheduled to take 23 days.
While Hutchison sought to reassure customers for Yantian, the congestion at Ningbo continues to build without any official confirmation from the terminal operators that the Meishan Terminal would begin to resume. The South China Morning Post reports that they were told by a port employee that there was no firm date for the reopening for the terminal, but that the port complex still handled 93,000 TEU on August 17, “exceeding the average single-day throughput in July.”
Reports of congestion and further blank sailings however are continuing due to the uncertainty at the port. Maersk reports that it has added a seventh ship that will be omitting Ningbo this month while Hapag-Lloyd yesterday detailed four ships that will be omitting Ningbo. Yard time across the port complex continues to be limited to two days in most cases, Maersk reports, but the backlogs are adding to vessel waiting time. Maersk reports the wait time at one of the alternate terminals, Beilun Container Terminal Phase 4, is between two and three days versus one and a half to two days a week ago.
VesselsValue released an analysis of containership traffic reporting that the longest wait at Ningbo appeared to be five days for the 5,400 TEU Tasman. As of August 18, they reported that a total of 80 containerships were waiting off Ningbo with a total capacity of 393,650 TEU. That, however, was a small fraction of the 409 containerships with an estimated capacity of 2.7 million TEU that VesselsValue reported are waiting at ports around the world.