As confirmed cases of China’s coronavirus continue to climb, over 24,000 cases and 494 worldwide deaths, international transportation providers have begun limiting services in coordination with travel restrictions. Chinese authorities began placing dozens of Chinese cities on lockdown and have announced a two-day extension to the Lunar New Year holiday, originally January 25 to February 8th, through February 10 with the potential for further delays.
During the Lunar New Year (LNY), Chinese workers return to their homes from manufacturing centers. The worker’s return back to manufacturing and commercial centers could aggravate the spread of the virus, so government officials have severely limited movement between the provinces.
Ocean carriers have added additional blank sailings and canceled certain services, not only to limit the potential threat of spread, but also due to a lack of cargo being delivered to the port from distribution hubs as truckers face health screenings and travel controls.
Airfreight is also experiencing increased volatility as shippers desperately try to get urgent cargo out of China. In turn, the combined capacity cuts from ocean and air carriers has increased airfreight rates into the United States despite a sharp drop in demand.
SHIPPERS SHOULD EXPECT DELAYS TO/FROM CHINA UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
A Chinese disease expert says containing the virus and reducing the number of infections could take up to six weeks. U.S. citizens returning from China are required to undergo health screenings at selected ports of entry and face up to 14 days of quarantine.
Once the travel ban is lifted, supply chains can begin to comb through the backlog of cargo, currently estimated at 6 million TEU.
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