Nanjing; The Largest Inland Port Faces the COVID Outbreak

Nanjing has become the latest port to report an outbreak of coronavirus among its workers. This has led to the shutdown of many operations along the length of the Yangtze. The number of pilots available was already dwindling, and this news has only made matters worse. The imposition of lockdowns on many other cities in the river delta and the worsening trucking crisis in China ports will create another supply chain crisis in the future.

The French logistics firm Geodis has reported that trucking services in Shanghai, Taicang, Nantong, and Kushan have been suspended due to the extended lockdowns. So, delays in shipments are expected within the Yangtze River delta, Wuxi, Suzhou, and Jiaxing. Goods are stranded in the ports as trucks are unable to enter ports. This is a side effect of the stringent and numerous safety protocols, such as truckers requiring special permits and a negative Covid test to cross the borders of cities and special zones. These permits are only valid for 24 hours, and even checking them at checkpoints cause enormous traffic jams at ports, with some drivers having to wait up to 40 hours in the Shanghai area.

Efforts are being made to dampen the detrimental effects of lockdowns. Beijing has ordered provincial-level governments to keep airports, harbors, and highways open to keep the logistics links intact. Local authorities are also instructed not to erect roadblocks or move healthy drivers into quarantine. The provincial department of transport in Ningbo is constructing 82 truck driver epidemic prevention centers. In certain other vital areas such as Shanghai, drivers can provide services such as catering, parking, antigen, nucleic acid testing, vehicle disinfection, etc.

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