Beijing - 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.
“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.
A person who answered the phone at one of Ningbo port’s terminals referred Reuters to the port company’s headquarters, which was closed after business hours. Nobody at Yantian port could be reached.
Though it has only found the virus in a handful of samples out of more than 200,000 tested so far, China continues to inspect cargoes and carry out tests on a large portion of arrivals.