Coronavirus effect. Since January, container traffic arriving at and departing from major Chinese ports has plummeted by 20% and it is expected to decrease by a total of about 6 million TEUs in the first quarter of 2020.
This forecast is by the French market analysis company, Alphaliner. In its weekly newsletter it also estimated that global container traffic growth will decrease by 0.7 percentage points between now and the end of the year.
Meanwhile, while chaos reigns in Beijing, shippers are asking themselves how to manage the forthcoming return to operations of Chinese companies, still closed due to the Lunar New Year being prolonged.
Soon, just as the factories reopen their doors, ocean shippers will find themselves having to handle a large number of orders that have remained outstanding to date due to the handbrake being put on the Chinese economy.
The main problem will be having to deal with the reduction in the supply of cargo hold space in the container shipping sector. While waiting for the shipping trade to resume at full speed, many freight forwarders are apparently considering using other modes of transport, either by rail or by arranging chartered cargo flights.
Translation by Giles Foster