This updates incorporates the latest insights from supply chain and news sources, together with local insights from partners and carrier notices.
Further to our recent communication, please find below a summary of the latest Coronavirus updates:
Worldwide confirmed cases – 31,528 across 28 countries, with China accounting for 31,204, 99% of cases.
Number of deaths – 638, with 2 deaths recorded outside of China.Summary of updates from our partners and customers
· As infection rates continue to increase, we are advised that business closure periods in some regions are being extended until 17th February; we anticipate more businesses to follow this lead and will provide further updates as details are known
· Subject to local government directives, availability of staff, infection control measures and equipment, businesses may be directed to extend the current closure period and continue with interim arrangements, including home working solutions
· The coronavirus pandemic, and its wider repercussions, are expected to reduce Chinese port cargo volumes by over 6m TEUs in the first quarter of 2020, and global container throughput by at least 0.7% for 2020
Airlines and air freight
· More carriers are confirming the suspension of cargo flights, in addition to increased passenger service cancellations as a result of falling demand
· Virgin Atlantic Cargo services have been suspended from Shanghai which will impact a large number of customers relying on this major economic hub
Ocean carrier updates
· Documentation services in mainland China are becoming increasingly impacted as a result of office closures and extended holidays, and shippers should allow for extended dwell times
· Blank sailings are planned throughout February and into mid-March, extending the impact of reduced cargo volumes beyond the usual Chinese New Year capacity contraction
· Operators are advising of amended routes and schedules across the region to mitigate the impacts of reduced vessel capacity and maintain the movement of shipments
· Any vessels that have left China on or after 1st February will have to clear a 14 day period before being allowed to enter Australian ports; however as the transit time between China and Australia is generally close to 14 days, this is not expected to have a major impact
· Outside of Wuhan, vessels and terminals appear to be operating normally but yard congestion in some ports is becoming an issue; shipping companies are advising customers in the event of changes to transport plans resulting from limited port capacity
· Ocean freight activity had already been severely affected by the IMO 2020 scrubber retrofit requirements, which were found to be more time-consuming than originally forecast
· Much of this retrofitting activity has been on hold or delayed as a result of the coronavirus containment measures imposed by the Chinese authorities, leaving vessels idle or forced to operate using more costly compliant fuels
Coronavirus transmission enquiry
· Customers have raised concerns about transmission of the virus via packaging, documentation and containers from China; the general advice is that the virus cannot be transmitted in this manner
· Transmission is by means of water droplets from an infected person, and the virus has not been found to survive longer than 2-3 hours on non-host surfaces
· Water droplets resulting from coughing and sneezing are the primary source of viral transmission
With the situation in China constantly evolving, we appreciate the many challenges and uncertainties being faced by our customers.
Please be assured that we are available to support you with any information requests or questions that you may have.
We will continue to monitor a range of information sources and liaise with our overseas offices to bring you further details as they become available.
If you would like any further support, or wish to highlight any specific shipments please call your usual contact for guidance and the latest updates.