China ship calls return to previous levels
As Europe and the US bring in increasingly restrictive measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, figures from Lloyd’s List Intelligence show ship calls at China’s leading export hubs are back to normal seasonal levels
Calls by container-related vessels to Shanghai and Yangshan are at the same level now as this time last year
AS THE escalating coronavirus outbreak continues to wreak havoc across the global shipping industry, there are continuing signs that in China, where the illness originated, operations are returning to normal.
Figures from Lloyd’s List Intelligence show the number of container-related vessel calls at the major container hub of Shanghai and Yangshan have picked up and are again tracking figures seen this time last year.
The figures, which record port calls by containerships, general cargo vessels with container capacity, con-ro vessels and container barges, saw a deep fall following the outbreak of coronavirus and the extended shutdown of factories following the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Those figures have since recovered and, despite a downturn in week nine, now stand at an almost identical level to where they were in week 10 of 2019. There were 394 calls in week 10 last year and 393 this year.
As Lloyd’s List reported on Monday, CMA CGM chief executive Rodolphe Saadé believes the situation in China is already beginning to recover and exports are rapidly returning to normal as Chinese factory production recovers.
Mr Saadé is forecasting a bounce in liftings by the end of March, reflecting the need for warehouses in the US and Europe to be replenished after several weeks of factory closures in China that have disrupted supply lines and depleted stocks of components, spare parts and other urgently needed inventories.
Elsewhere, the US west coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are expecting a surge in volumes as China exports resume.
Carriers including Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co have added extra loaders using some of the largest boxships in the world, including the 23,756 teu MSC Mia, the largest ship so far to call at US west coast ports, to reposition empty containers to China for export.
Nevertheless, the threat remains that as Europe and the US bring in increasingly severe measures to restrict the spread of the coronavirus, demand for exported goods may be thwarted.
The US yesterday introduced a travel ban on people entering the country from mainland Europe and several European countries are looking increasingly likely to bring in travel and other restrictions, similar to those that Italy has imposed, to restrict the spread of the disease.