One of the largest container shipping conferences, the Transpacific Maritime Conference (TPM), has been cancelled just before it was due to start
Its organiser IHS Markit said in a statement dated 29 February “IHS Markit has an absolute commitment to the health and safety of our customers, partners and colleagues. Given the deteriorating situation regarding the spread of the Covid-19 disease, unfortunately it is necessary to cancel TPM20 scheduled for 1-4 March 2020.”
The TPM conference takes place annually in Long Beach, California.
It explained that this decision was made following recent guidance from health officials and in light of the rapid growth in global cases of Covid-19, in particular in the western United States over the past 24 hours, as well as increasing travel restrictions and other circumstances.
The statement added “This decision has been made with input from our customers and partners and we are very grateful for their support in what has been a very difficult decision.”
IHS Markit said it would shortly announce relevant arrangements for refunds or re-arranging registrations and sponsorships to TPM21. It summed up “We look forward to seeing you at TPM21 at an event that our partners, sponsors and customers have come to expect.”
The container shipping industry and supply chain has taken a hit from the coronavirus outbreak. Shipping consultancy Alphaliner 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 coronavirus.
While Maersk said in a statement accompanying its 2019 results, “The outlook and guidance for 2020 is subject to significant uncertainties and impacted by the current outbreak of the coronavirus in China, which has significantly lowered visibility on what to expect in 2020. As factories in China are closed for longer than usual in connection with the Chinese New Year as a result of the coronavirus, we expect a weak start to the year.”