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Chinese port volumes hold up in January despite coronavirus impact

Guangzhou port.jpg
The coronavirus has not had a major impact on volumes for Chinese ports that have published figures for January.

The full statistics on cargo handling volume at many Chinese ports have not been published due to the extension of China’s Lunar New Year holiday caused by coronavirus. However, based on major ports that have released January figures we can expect relatively stable numbers compared to last year, with a mix of increases and decreases in volumes being reported.

The northern port group of Shandong reports 121m tons cargo throughput and 2.58m teu container throughput last month, an increase of 6.3% and 6.4% year-on-year.

Ningbo-Zhoushan port forecasts to complete 71.54m tons cargo throughput and 2.67m teu container throughput in Jan, a decline of 2.9% and 3.3% year-on-year respectively.

The port of Guangzhou announces that it expected to complete 38.748m tons cargo throughput and 1.585m teu container throughput in Jan, a decline of 9.1% and 9.9% year-on-year.

Due to the spread of the virus, both domestic and international ports and shipping companies have adjusted and restricted on ship deployment from/to/via China, a major decline on port figures is expected in February. An extended Chinese New Year holiday period to try and stem the spread of the virus has seen factories shutdown for two weeks impacting export volumes.

Major container lines continue to operate at China’s main coastal seaports, but the world’s top 10 operators have canceled at least two dozen sailings to China in recent weeks, ship calls at or through major Chinese ports have fallen 20% since Jan. 20., according to Alphaliner.

Read all Seatrade Maritime News coverage on the impact of the coronavirus on shipping