Coronavirus impact on regional shipping

Thailand economy is already suffering consequences of corona outbreak in China, and tourism sector isn’t the only one to be hit. Thai exports to China, especially exports of perishable agricultural goods, came to a standstill, and Thai National Shippers’ Council doesn’t expect improvements until Feb 10, with export goods being piled up in ports. Export of manufactured goods is also on the decline.
“Chinese importers have suspended bringing in perishable products and this may continue as long as China is unclear about when the coronavirus situation will end,” said Thai National Shippers’ Council vice chairman Visit Limluecha.
Decline in Chinese import to Thailand is forcing Thai companies to look for replacement sources elsewhere.
When coronavirus outbreak will be put under control and China resumes trade as normal, there will be, inevitably, long ships queues in major Thailand ports, because of many goods already piled in ports, and more goods still outside ports, waiting to be shipped.

Japan shipping industry is encountering similar problems, mostly problems with Chinese industrial goods to be transported to Japan. Some companies already changed logistics schemes, trying to avoid congested Chinese ports. The least hit sector according to Japanese shipowners, is bulk sector. Raw materials are handled in Chinese ports without any perceptible interruptions or delays.
Crewing in region is also under stress, with many owners and crewing companies refusing to hire Chinese seamen, or to renew expiring contracts.

Author

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My name is Mikhail Voytenko, I’m Russian, professional merchant marine navigator, by education and former experience. I own and run Maritime Bulletin website for more than 10 years. I've been involved in solving a number of piracy hijack cases, including the hijack of ro-ro FAINA, loaded with tanks. It was me who made public, and unravel, freighter ARCTIC SEA mystery. I've been also closely involved in a number of maritime disaster, one of them being MSC FLAMINIA major fire.