THERE are signs that shipping operations
in China are returning to normal, according to figures from Lloyd's
List Intelligence, which 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,
reports UK's Lloyd's List.
CMA CMG chief executive Rodolphe Saade said last week he believes the situation
in China is already beginning to recover and exports are rapidly
returning to normal as Chinese factory production recovers.
Mr Saade 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.
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 (MSC) 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
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.