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Tianjin Port running normally despite coronavirus flare-up

Tianjin Port, the world’s ninth largest port in terms of cargo throughput, said its operations remain normal after 31 new confirmed coronavirus cases were detected in the city as of Monday, including cases involving the Omicron variant.

Tianjin is about 220 kilometers away from Beijing, which is to hold the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games soon.

“The priority of our work is to ensure supplies for the Beijing Winter Games and daily necessities, including crude oil, natural gas and grain,” a person responsible for speaking to the media at Tianjin Port Group told the Global Times on Monday.

Following an order by Tianjin municipality to mass test its 14 million residents, Tianjin Port had tested 4,920 employees as of 1 pm on Sunday, the port said.

“All of the wharf companies operated normally,” it said.

Work at local customs remained normal too, You Jin, manager of customs declaration at Tianjin Yongcheng Shijia International Forwarders Co, told the Global Times on Monday.

North China’s Tianjin is a marine gateway in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, a pivotal port for Eurasia trade, and it sits in a key location for the Belt and Road Initiative.

Handling goods coming from over 800 global ports through 130 container shipping routes, Tianjin Port plays a key role in facilitating logistics in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, central and western China.

In 2020, cargo throughput of Tianjin Port hit 435 million tons, ranking ninth worldwide. Container throughput reached 18.35 million standard containers, ranking eighth globally.

The latest virus outbreak made the port city the first in China to experience local community transmission of the Omicron variant, according to Zhang Boli, a member of the experts group of the central leading group on responding to the coronavirus disease outbreak, and also headmaster at the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

“The Tianjin [cases] mark China’s first large-scale battle against Omicron. Its prevention and treatment will provide precious experience to other regions,” Zhang said.

A large wholesale market selling vegetables, fruits and grain in Jinnan district in the city, a region that reported the majority of the cases, was still open on Monday, the Global Times learned, but its online store was shut down.

So far, the flare-ups have not had a huge impact on local advanced manufacturing industries, as only residential quarters are under tight control, Cong Yi, a professor at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times.

LG told the Global Times on Monday that the cases had no impact on its factories in Tianjin.

Airbus said the company is actively supporting the government’s virus prevention and control measures, and it will try its best to ensure normal production under the premise of protecting employees’ safety and health.

“However, the services sector including catering, tourism and entertainment companies will be hit, and this adverse impact may last till the Chinese New Year period,” Cong warned.

“The biggest challenge for Tianjin’s outbreak is the Beijing Winter Games and the key to containing the virus fast is to curb people’s mobility.

“Local authorities in Tianjin reacted in time with the active support of residents,” he said, predicting the situation would improve after half a month.
Source: Global Times

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