THE coronavirus outbreak has so far cost
container shipping lines US$2 billion in lost revenue, after volumes
plummeted by 1.9 million TEU in the wake of the prolonged factory
closure in China over the Lunar New Year holiday.
SeaIntelligence Consulting chief executive Alan Murphy explained: "At a rough average freight rate
of US$1,000 per TEU, this equals a revenue loss of $1.9 billion for the
According to SeaIntelligence data, there were 111 blank sailings on the
transpacific between February 1 and April 12, of which 48 were due to
the coronavirus outbreak and the remainder to "normal" Chinese New Year
On the Asia-Europe trade, there have been 75 sailings during the same
period either blanked or announced, including 29 as a result of the
However, Mr Murphy said that, while the outbreak continued to impact
shipping, the effects appeared to "stabilising", as the number of
announced blanked voyages fell last week, compared with previous weeks.
Over the past week, seven scheduled sailings on the two main east-west
trades were cancelled, the week before it was over 20, reported UK's The
"This, however, does not mean the ripple effects are over - far from
it," added Mr Murphy. "We have already outlined in the past weeks how
this will impact round-trip dynamics and create shortages of both vessel
capacity and equipment availability." He is also warning of the growing
possibility of a severe capacity crunch for backhaul shippers.
"Carriers are already pushing rate increases on account of this, and for
some backhaul shippers, the coming weeks might well be a matter of
whether they can get their cargo moved at all - almost irrespective of
the price they are willing to pay."
He added that through "proactive capacity management, carriers have
managed to maintain freight rates and, at least for now, staved-off a
feared financial crisis-like rate implosion."