China, Hong Kong and Taiwan – Coronavirus Disease Update


All ports have announced that both residents, visitors and crews from Hubei or stayed in Hubei in last 14 days are prohibited to go on board all vessels. Incoming visitors, and crew to be temperature screened before entering the city or port.

All passengers / crew should fill the Health Declaration form, both at the time of entry and departure in declaring their health situation. Symptoms of cough, fever or difficulty to breath must be reported to a customs officer then a mask must be used to avoid further spreading the virus. All passenger and crew entering China must provide recent travel history.

As per the recent port guidance, the Original Health Declaration form to be filled by all crew on board must be submitted before vessel’s departure. Due to the block of regular land transportation between cities, river port pilots (from Nanjing to Taicang within Yangtze River) will go onboard by using tug boat with higher charge incurred.

Shippers / receivers must arrange the required customs formalities for their cargo promptly. Due to the irregular working hours of customs, there may be delay in completion of formalities which will result with the delay in berthing. All offices in China will remain closed until 2400lt / 9th February 2020 as per Chinese Government announcement.

In the meantime, we recommend ship side as below and actual requirements may vary in different ports:

  • Masters are required to send their daily temperature list of all crew on board to agent 7 days before vessel’s arrival.
  • The updated temperature list must be submitted to the customs officer upon vessel arrival and before ship’s departure.
  • Crew will be quarantined and hospitalized if found to have symptoms of fever or cough or difficulty in breathing.
  • The shore pass will not be issued unless identified as necessary.
  • The issuance of boarding pass for shore side people to be onboard will be tightly restricted based on actual requirement.
  • Ship side is required to measure body temperature of all visitors and port officials on board and reserve the right to reject any individual with symptoms of fever or cough.
  • Crew change will be prohibited in most Chinese ports and you may check with prior vessel’s arrival.

South China Ports

Crew change formalities are suspended.

Chiwan, Dongguan, Fangcheng, Guangzhou, Shekou, Xiamen, Yantian

Crew change allowed but Xiamen and Yantian have strict & complicated requirements. Guangzhou, Dongguan, Fangcheng are allowed but not suggested.


Crew change formalities have already been suspended by local customs due to coronavirus pneumonia till further notice.

Hong Kong

With effective from 08/Feb/2020 0001lt, all people entering Hong Kong from the Mainland, including Hong Kong residents, Mainland residents as well as other visitors, to be subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival. Even if they are entering form other places, if they have visited the Mainland over the past 14 days, mandatory quarantine will still be applicable upon thier arrival. According to info from Immigration Department today, those under seamen status (i.e. those arriving with vsls and holding both valid national seaman books and passports) are not affected and may still apply for signing off (except those born/resided in Hubei or those visited Hubei past 14 days), while supernumerary and passengers are not allowed to sign off.


From February 6, 2020, residents of Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau are prohibited from entering Taiwan.

CECC (Central Epidemic Command Center) pointed out that several community-transmitted cases with unknown origin have occurred in Hong Kong, indicating the possibility of invisible chain of infection. On the other hand, a worker in the gambling industry of Macau has been diagnosed with 2019-nCoV infection, indicating a second wave of infection in Macau. Due to the close social and commercial exchanges between Macau and China, the travel notice level for Hong Kong and Macau was raised to Level 2: Alert on February 5. CECC urges travelers visiting the areas to reinforce prevention measures. Furthermore, CECC will closely monitor the development of disease outbreak and adjust endemic area and the level of travel notices accordingly.

Requirements for entry are the following:

  • From February 6, Taiwan residents with a history of travel to Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau are required to be under home quarantine for 14 days after entering Taiwan. Travelers who were permitted to visit Hong Kong and Macau are required to also conduct self-health management for 14 days.
  • Entry of Mainland China residents will be suspended.
  • Hong Kong and Macau residents are required to be under home quarantine for 14 days after entering Taiwan.
  • From February 7, 2020, foreign nationals who have visited or resided in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau over the past 14 days before they arrive in Taiwan will be prohibited from entering. Even if there are special reasons, visa applications will not be accepted by our overseas offices.
  • Foreign nationals possessing a valid Taiwan Resident Certificate who have visited or resided in China, Hong Kong and Macau in the previous 14 days are required to be under home quarantine for 14 days and residence restricted after entering Taiwan.

In view of the occurrence of several cases of cruise passengers or crew members infected with the new coronavirus, considering that international cruises are areas with dense populations and frequent human interactions, the CECC announced that international cruise ships will be prohibited from berthing from now on.

With effect on February 11, all travelers arriving from areas outside China, Hong Kong and Macau will be required to complete a health declaration form. It must accurately state their travel and contact history regarding whether they have visited China, Hong Kong and Macau over the past 14 days before entry. If travelers provide inaccurate information or refuse, evade or interfere with the provision of such information, violators will be fined up to NT$ 150,000 according to relevant laws.

From February 12, mainland Chinese who are in Taiwan for any of the following reasons can apply for an extension to stay.

  • Performance of business
  • Company internal transfers
  • Investment management
  • On-site services
  • Reunions and short-term visits

With effect on February 16, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that a community monitoring program will be strengthened specifically targeting the following:

  • Foreign travel history within 14 days (including Singapore, Thailand, Japan and other countries with confirmed cases) or had contact with a person with fever or respiratory symptoms from abroad, and a physician cases of fever or respiratory symptoms with high suspicion of COVID-19 infection.
  • People with fever / respiratory symptoms
  • Antibiotic treatment did not improve for 3 days and there was no clear cause or case of cluster or case of medical staff of pneumonia


All those entering Xiamen must register and declare their health conditions in advance using the “i XIAMEN” WeChat Subscription.  All crew signing on at Xiamen port must comply with this declaration and cooperate with the terminal’s basic body and mask wearing checks.

Ben Line Agencies’ global partner – WaterFront carves new territory with Houston move

18 July 2019 – Global port agency business, WaterFront Maritime Services (WaterFront) has today opened a local agency office in Houston, Texas. The company, which is one of the world’s largest port agency networks, says its Houston office has been established to help charterers, owners, and operators to manage their risk in this strategically important high-volume location.

WaterFront’s Houston office is managed by newly appointed Director for North America Lars Westerberg, a port agency industry veteran who was formerly Regional Director Americas for Seven Seas and Managing Director of Wallem Americas. Prior to these roles, Westerberg also served as Regional Managing Director of Inchcape Shipping Services in North and Central America.

The team in WaterFront’s Houston office will attend vessels directly from Corpus Christi to Lake Charles, including all terminals and all facilities. The Houston office will also serve as the regional hub for WaterFront in North, South and Central America including the Caribbean and is linked to WaterFront’s existing regional hubs in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur to provide 24-hour coverage to its global client base.

Terry Gidlow, Chief Executive Officer of WaterFront, commented:

“On a global basis we see how significant political developments, evolving trade policies and rapid shifts in the supply and demand of raw materials and bulk commodities are impacting traditional trade patterns. Meaning our clients are faced with a whole new range of opportunities and challenges in executing their day to day business. With the opening of our Houston office we are able to bolster the presence we have in other major oil & gas import/export and refining centres such as the Middle East and in Asia.”

The WaterFront global network currently handles more than 45,000 port calls per year through a network of 483 offices in 93 countries worldwide. Unlike other global agencies, Waterfront focuses on providing port and husbandry services for vessels transporting coal, grains, iron ore, minor bulks as well as crude oil, clean and dirty products, chemicals and gas. The company also handles the husbandry requirements of 3rd party and in-house ship managers.

WaterFront’s Director for North America, Lars Westerberg, commented:

“By focusing on specific commodities, we can work with customers operating in this region to add quantifiable value to their businesses. Our work is all about understanding our clients business and their  specific needs and then using our local knowledge and relationships to assist them to mitigate their risk, turn their vessels and cargoes around faster and save them money, while maintaining the highest levels of  safety and compliance.”

Terry Gidlow, chief executive officer of WaterFront, added:

“Lars and his team in Houston bring to the table decades of local experience and relationships in ports and terminals throughout Texas. The Regional Hub function of the Houston office also serves to give our clients in North and South America better access to our Global network.

WaterFront was established by leading regional ship agency businesses Sharaf Shipping Agencies and Ben Line Agencies in 2016. WaterFront is headquartered in Dubai with commercial offices in China, Singapore, Dubai, Norway and the USA. WaterFront has strategic partnerships in the rest of North and South America with renowned local partners such as ACGI on the west Coast of the US and Canada, UNIMAR in Brazil and the Ultramar group in Spanish-speaking South America. For more information about the organisation, visit

Beibu Gulf Port Introduces the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor in Vietnam


On April 16, 2019, Beibu Gulf Port hosted a roadshow in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to promote the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor and explore business opportunities. More than 150 people from Beibu Gulf Port, Saigon Port Authority, Vietnam industry associations, major shipping companies, local logistics companies, and cargo owners were in attendance. Management from Beibu Gulf Port Authority and the Guangxi Beibu Gulf Office were also present.

To comply with the strategic positioning as a  gateway to ASEAN countries, a key port to support the development of southwest and central-south of China, and a hub port of the One Belt, One Road initiative, Beibu Gulf Port accelerated the construction of the container ports, built up several large-scale, deep-water and professional terminals in recent years, while ports and logistics facilities are continuously improved.

Mr. Mo Nu, Board of Director & Deputy General Manager of Beibu Gulf Port Group, proposed new ideas and called on all parties to work together to continue the momentum of trade between Vietnam and western China.

Mr. Jiang Wei, Deputy General Manager of Beibu Gulf Logistics, said that Beibu Gulf Port is continuously improving the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor. They are committed to ensuring the route’s efficiency, convenience and cost optimization.

Vietnam is the largest foreign trade partner of Beibu Gulf Port. In 2018, the container throughput of Beibu Gulf Port to Vietnam totaled 27,000 TEU, mainly composed of machinery, chemical products, agriculture products, animal products and light industrial products. As of April 2019, Beibu Gulf Port has five container services with a weekly call to Ho Chi Minh Port and 10 container services called to Haiphong Port weekly.

The construction of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor has vastly improved trade between Vietnam and western China. Transit time between these regions can be cut down by up to 10 days and logistics costs halved .

Representatives from Vietnamese ports, the shipping industry and cargo owners are committed to cooperation between Vietnam, Beibu Gulf Port and China’s western region.

There was also discussion of constructing a logistics system and multimodal transport corridor between Vietnam and Guangxi.

Ben Line Agencies and Beibu Gulf Port have been partners for years. Mr. Matthew Soloman, Director of Ben Line Agencies, spoke about the exciting opportunities for China-ASEAN cooperation as the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor develops and more western Chinese provinces participate.

This is Beibu Gulf Port’s second roadshow in Southeast Asia, after the first hosted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last August 2018. Amid a growing partnership, the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor provides an opportunity to further develop trade between Vietnam and western China. 

China Issues Guidelines for Low Sulphur Fuel

With effect from January 1, 2019, vessels entering all Chinese ports should use low sulphur fuel with sulphur content less than 0.5%. Previously, only three ECA zones – Beihai RIM, Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta – had this requirement but it has now been extended to all ports within China.

From January 1, 2020, vessels entering Chinese ports will be required to use low sulphur fuel with sulphur content less then 0.1%.

The announcement below contains more details on the ports affected by this regulation:

China ECA Regulations

Ben Line Agencies Shanghai moves to a new office


Ben Line Agencies moved to a new office in Shanghai with effect on December 8, 2018. Phone and email addresses will remain the same. Office details as follows:

Room 2301, No. 575 Wusong Road, Trinity Tower, Hongkou District, Shanghai 200080
Phone: +86 21 6329 6568
Fax: +86 21 6329 5628

Our team looks forward to providing you with even better service from this new location.

United Nations Project

UN shipment from Laiyang to Mombasa
UN shipment from Harbin/Jilin to Abidjan

Client Profile:

A global transportation partner focusing on containers, break bulk and Ro-Ro cargoes

Challenges Faced:

  • 2nd hand container purchase and positioning to remote site
  • Management of container stuffing
  • Trucking distance more than 1200km
  • Customs declaration for hazardous cargo
  • Ocean freight arrangement
  • Truck – vessel direct loading

Project Solving Process:

  • Immediate reaction after being awarded, purchasing 2nd hand container/trucking arrangement within 3 days
  • We received special permission from local communication bureau for trucking heavy machinery more than 1200km, allowing plenty of time to account for any unforeseen over weight/over width obstacles
  • DG/army item security guard arrangement before loading
  • Dealing with local port authority to allow vessel quick berthing/best connecting truck arrival time

Refinery Project EPC

BLA was appointed to transport over 94, 055 freight tons. From March 2014-February2015, moving from Shanghai to Philippines. Shipments were separated in 12 lots by break bulk vessels, including heavy units of over 100MT.

Client Profile:

A state-owned EPC, engineering and consultation company.

Client Relationship:

Undertaking customs clearance, receiving cargo in port, ocean freight – complete door to door service

Challenges Faced:

  • BLPL staff had to be on standby at port to check the shipments due to complex nature and scale.
  • Various suppliers sent shipments without plans so BLPL staff waited in port for imminent shipments and arranged cargo in port itself
  • Supplier had no export experience and so they had no idea of how to pack safely. BLPL staff visited supplier and gave suggestions and advice on packing.
  • We checked the packing once cargo arrived in port, and found certain packing unsatisfactory. We gave notice to client to amend packing in order for safe sailing.