Late in January, we provided information regarding official announcements from the China Central Government. As of today, additional news, dates and delayed openings have been issued by the China Central Government. The Coronavirus continues to spread in mainland China with more than 20,000 confirmed cases as of today; 24,324 as of this morning to be exact. More than 490 people have died as a result, most in Hubei Province, but there are also reports of fatalities elsewhere including Beijing.
In an effort to limit the spread of the Coronavirus, China Central Government issued new opening restrictions overnight as follows:
- All major shipping ports are to resume work no earlier than February 10th
- Hubei Province is to resume work no earlier than February 14th
Meanwhile, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, North Korea and Mongolia have closed physical borders to China. Air restrictions have been deployed by the US, Australia, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Pakistan and Italy.
While the world fights to control and eliminate spread of the virus as much as possible, global trade promises to suffer a measurable hit as a result. Experts predict that container volume could be impacted as much as 0.7% (Sources: The Alphaliner). In the past, CNY closures are effective for approximately 7 days; this year, we are currently up to a projected 17 days.
As a result of extended leave orders from China Central Government, it is expected that the majority of Chinese factories will face difficulties in resuming manufacturing as quickly as they have in the past. Workers that travel to see friends and family for the holidays will face delays in returning home. Critical office personnel will not be back to work on the normal timelines from past holidays. All this may cause a knock on effect to container shipping rates once offices have reopened. If volumes are impacted with reduced demand, steamship lines will be forced to reduce costs to gain support on vessel sailings.
We will continue to monitor the situation and share updates as available. Thank you for reading!
*Image Credit: Maersk