Global container volumes are expected to take a hit due to the novel coronavirus outbreak
Shipping consultancy Alphaliner has forecast that factory shutdowns and other restrictions caused by the coronavirus will cut container volumes by around 0.7% in 2020.
It added that ship calls at major Chinese ports have slumped by 20% since 20 January as measures are taken to control the spread of the cornonavirus.
Alphaliner said “The full impact of the Chinese coronavirus outbreak on container volumes will not be fully measurable until ports announce their throughput numbers for the first quarter, but data collected on weekly container vessel calls at key Chinese ports already shows a reduction of over 20% since 20 January.”
The coronavirus has had an impact on liner services, with Ocean Alliance announcing the cancellations of three Asia/North Europe sailings in February due to the operational effects of the virus.
China has also extended its national New Year until 9 February to contain the spread of the virus. Factories traditionally shut during this period.
Elsewhere, maritime lawyers Watson Farley & Williams LLP warned that the continued spread of the coronavirus and governmental measures to minimise the impact is likely to affect the shipping industry and supply chain.
Its external communications manager Will Salomone said in an emailed advisory “For those with vessels being built or under repair, it might lead to delays in deliveries or a reduction in available manpower. It might also hamper specialist engineers travelling to shipyards.”
He advised “It is important to consider force majeure clauses and whether those provisions exist consistently throughout a series of charters or contracts. Owners with vessels currently trading in regions affected should carefully consider any safe port and quarantine provisions, without forgetting the relevance of crew employment agreements.”