Typhoon forces two of China’s busiest ports to suspend some operations

The Shanghai International Port Group said in a statement that several terminals at the Shanghai Port — the world’s busiest port by cargo volume — either stopped running Sunday night or would do so Monday in anticipation of Typhoon Chanthu.

The nearby Ningbo-Zhoushan Port, the world’s third-busiest after Singapore, halted operations at some terminals, too, according to separate notices from those terminals.

Chanthu has weakened significantly since it slammed into the Philippines and later Taiwan over the weekend. At its strongest, before it made landfall in the Philippines, Chanthu was one of the strongest storms this year. Its sustained winds of 260 kph (160 mph) were equivalent in strength to a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane at its peak.

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While not as strong as it was a few days ago, the typhoon has already caused severe disruption in the Shanghai area upon its approach. Shanghai and the adjacent Zhejiang province have canceled most flights and suspended schools and train service.

The port disruption comes at the worst time for global trade. Supply chains have been stretched to breaking point by a resurgence in consumer demand and shipping delays. A recent resurgence of the coronavirus in China worsened a container backlog at major Chinese ports, contributing to the ongoing crisis.

Last month, for example, a terminal at the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port was closed for two weeks after a dock worker tested positive for Covid-19. One shipping analyst at the time said that it could take up to 60 days for operations at the port to return to normal.

The price of shipping goods from China to Europe and North America has soared, and companies are reporting substantial delays in receiving orders just as they try to stock up ahead of the year-end holiday shopping season.

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