On April 1, the Zhangjiagang Win Hanverky Container Terminal Co., Ltd. released a notice that, upon the request of the Zhangjiagang Environmental Protection Agency, the company will pause the loading and unloading of hazardous chemicals (except 19 items specified therein) starting from April 1.
The partial ban on loading and unloading of hazardous chemicals at the port is certainly a response to safety concerns which were ignited by the deadly blast in Yancheng last month. Conceivably, the notice may prompt market players to either resort to other adjacent ports or buy more material to avoid any possible shortfall and, in some cases, enable a spike in spot prices for some products.
At the moment, how the ban will proceed remains to be seen. The company stated in the notice that it “is communicating and coordinating with relevant agencies”.
In the wake of the Yancheng explosion, Chinese authorities at both central and local levels are mulling over measures to strengthen regulation of the chemical industry and eliminate safety hazards of relevant venues and sites. In addition to the pledge of Jiangsu provincial government to cut the number of local chemical businesses from 5,433 in 2017 to under 1,000 by 2022, a total of 37 regions have been carrying out urgent inspections targeting vehicles transporting hazardous chemicals.