Chinese ports hit capacity as virus tests slow clearing: shippers

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BEIJING (Reuters) – Testing of imported food for the novel coronavirus is pushing capacity at some major Chinese ports to their limit, major shippers told customers this week, warning of additional fees and possible diversions to other ports.

China stepped up inspections of imported food last month after an outbreak of the coronavirus among people working at and visiting a major food market in Beijing. (Full Story)

“Import container pick-up activities have been severely impacted and as a result reefer plugs are highly utilized especially at the port of Yantian and Ningbo,” said German shipping firm Hapag-Lloyd in a customer notice on Friday.

Reefers, or chilled containers used for meat and fresh produce, must be plugged in for the contents to be kept cool or frozen.

Hapag-Lloyd warned that containers could be discharged at an alternative port and that cargo owners would be liable for additional costs.

Top container shipper Maersk MAERSKb.CO also told customers on Wednesday that it has been diverting cargo from Yantian port in the southern city Shenzhen because of limited reefer plugs.

The port is one of China’s top ports for frozen meat.

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