It was just a few days ago when the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
The virus has found a foothold on every continent (with the exception of Antarctica).
Governments worldwide are scrambling to protect their countries, introducing rarely seen border closures and mass gathering bans. These attempts are being made in an effort to slow down this fast moving virus.
So what does this mean for shipping?
The prolonged factory closures in China escalating from the New Year holidays, coupled with the inability to return to normal working capacity, has seen the shipping industry experience an unprecedented drop in container volumes worldwide.
The massive drop in volumes being imported and exported from China has meant that shipping lines were losing money – causing lines to blank sailings (vessels would not depart). This has put pressure on the services that are operating, as there is limited space on board vessels for cargo that is ready to move. This does not just effect cargo to/from China, but also any vessel scheduled to transit via China.
As China has returned to some level of normalcy the last few weeks we have seen a massive rush in exports from China, placing strain on all services. Shipping lines are changing their services and port rotations constantly with a moments notice. Space is at a premium.
Our staff are currently booking cargo on the first available vessel. If schedules change, you will be notified immediately.
All eyes are currently on Italy and how they are handling the virus. Currently sea freight from Italy is moving as normal, but some main air freight carriers have cancelled passenger services. Alternative arrangements are being made to accommodate any cargo that is ready to move.
Arrivals into Australia
At present, there is no change to how cargo is cleared when coming into Australia. Cargo ex China/Italy is not being held at the border with coronavirus fears. Providing you have all the usual correct documentation, there will be no issues.
Vessels that arrive into Australia less than 14 days from the time they have left or transited through mainland China will not be entered into Port.
EES Shipping Office Update
We have been pro-active in ensuring that our staff are safe during this outbreak. Measures have been put in place to ensure that staff can work remotely if necessary.