Container port volumes in China could take an estimated hit of 6 million TEU in the first quarter of 2020 from the impact of the coronavirus, according to analyst Alphaliner.
The analyst warned that the coronavirus will reduce container cargo volumes at Chinese ports - including Hong Kong - and is expected to reduce global container throughput growth by at least 0.7 per cent for the full year.
A combination of the extended Lunar New Year holidays in a bid to slow the spread of the virus, together with blanked sailings by carriers, could result in the box throughput contraction.
"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 per cent since January 20," Alphaliner said in its weekly report.
Chinese ports remain open for business with the exception of those in Wuhan, which handled 1.7 million TEU in 2019, according to media reports.
Breakwave Advisors' latest fortnightly report on dry bulk states that the majority of industrial business in China has "basically shut down"
"China industrial activity is severely impacted and operating at reduced rates to say the least. Construction activity, steel production, logistical chains and imports are suffering, and this is evident in freight rates that are hovering at record lows across asset classes and geographies," the report stated.
Researchers at Singapore's Eastport Maritime noted that due to the delayed return to work, a decline in efficiency at ports has been seen in all Chinese ports.
Meanwhile, OPEC and its allies are debating more aggressive oil output cuts than previously considered after reviewing new data that showed the coronavirus' deepening impact on global oil demand.
While the Lunar New Year holidays have officially been extended through to the end of this week, Splash contacts across China are reporting that many garment and machinery related companies have made contingency plans to down tools for the whole of February.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Xinde Marine News.
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