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Covid-19 outbreak partly closes one of China’s busiest ports

An outbreak of Covid-19 has partly closed one of the world’s busiest ports, a shutdown that may add to the already record cost of shipping goods out of China.

Yantian Port in the export and industrial hub of Shenzhen in southern China will not accept any containers for export until Sunday May 30, according to a notice posted Friday on Wechat. The container yard of the port has been partly shut since last week after an outbreak of Covid-19 among port staff and in the broader community, state media reported.

The disruptions will continue into the coming week, with shipping firm AP Moller-Maersk A/S reporting delays in its schedules due to the closure. Any delays will likely put further pressure on the already sky-high costs of shipping goods from China, which have soared on record export demand, a shortage of containers, and other factors.

Those shipping costs are just one of the factors boosting the price of China’s exports, which is threatening to fuel global inflation.

Yantian is one of the busiest ports in the world, with a cargo throughput of 13.34 million twenty-foot equivalent unit in 2020, a standard measurement used in freight industry, according to figures from the Shenzhen Transportation Bureau. It serves about 100 ships a week, according to a report on a Shenzhen government website.

The local government said in a notice Friday it will conduct mass testing of the entire population of the Yantian district.

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