Shanghai halts some traffic at port, airport amid Typhoon Chanthu

by | 14 Sep 2021 | International News

Shanghai has halted some container port operations and will cancel most flights Monday and Tuesday as Typhoon Chanthu approaches the city, which is China’s financial capital and a major shipping hub.

The city’s container port, the world’s biggest, has suspended some container-related operations, Shanghai International Port Group said in a statement on its wechat account. While the tropical storm was expected to make landfall in the southern part of the city Monday night, state-owned Global Times reported that the typhoon won’t cross the coast, citing meteorological experts.

The newspaper added that the gale intensity would remain strong over the next two days. Chanthu started dumping rain on the city of 25 million people from Sunday after affecting the southern Chinese coast, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Ningbo Meidong Container Terminal Co. in neighboring Zhejiang province suspended some container operations from Friday, the company said on its wechat account Sunday. Operations at major wharfs at the province’s Zhoushan port — home to some of China’s largest oil storage tanks and refineries — have been halted since Saturday afternoon.

China’s Maritime Safety Administration last week issued a warning for the southeastern province of Fujian, where Xiamen Port is located, asking ships to adjust navigation plans and leave typhoon-affected waters.

The halts are likely to further delay shipments and damage global supply chains, which are already struggling to deal with record exports from China and the effects of local Covid-19 outbreaks. Asian ports have emerged as one of the bottlenecks for global trade, as European and U.S. demand for goods overwhelms the capacity of docks and ships.

Shanghai’s terminals collectively handled about 43.5 million “TEU” last year, making the city as a whole the largest container port in the world, according to the Shanghai International Port Group. TEU is industry jargon for “20-foot equivalent units,” the standard measure for container ship capacity. Officials at Shanghai International Port Group Co. were not available to comment. Calls to Ningbo Zhoushan Port Co. were not answered.

All flights will be canceled at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport after 11 a.m. Monday because of the weather, while all flights through the Hongqiao airport in the west of the city will also be scrapped after 3 p.m. the same day, according to an announcement by the Shanghai Airport Authority Sunday night.

Earlier on Sunday, the Shanghai government said it will shut all kindergartens and primary schools Monday afternoon and Tuesday, while some subway lines were suspended and parks and other outdoor tourist sites were shut Monday and Tuesday.

Zhejiang province upgraded its emergency response to Chanthu to the highest level on Sunday, closing schools as well as suspending air and rail services in several cities, according to the official Xinhua news agency. Authorities have also suspended some high-speed rail services in the Yangtze River Delta, China’s state TV reported Monday.

Taiwan lifted its warning Monday morning after the storm passed the island.