ContainersGreater ChinaPorts and Logistics

Coronavirus costing liners up to $350m in lost revenues every week

As China partially returned to work today, data from Copenhagen-based Sea-Intelligence suggests the coronavirus has been costing liners up to $350m in lost revenues every week.

Sea-Intelligence suggests the box shortfall from the virus is up to 350,000 teu per week, getting to the $350m figure based on average rate levels of around $1,000 per teu.

Liners have upped the amount of blank sailings in recent weeks, with Sea-Intelligence noting there are a total of 21 sailings being blanked due to the coronavirus on the transpacific, taking 198,500 teu out of action. This is on top of the 61 sailings already blanked due to Chinese New Year, bringing the total number of blank sailings to 82.

For Asia-Europe 10 sailings have been blanked thanks to the virus, removing 151,500 teu from the market, bringing the total number of blank sailings to 54, across North Europe and the Mediterranean.

Another knock-on effect for global supply chains from the virus, Sea-Intelligence warned in its Sunday Spotlight report concerns back-haul shippers who will need to plan for a very likely contingency, where they will experience capacity shortages and sharply escalating freight rates, kicking in during March and April.

Last week analysts at another container shipping consultancy, Alphaliner, warned that the coronavirus will reduce container cargo volumes at Chinese ports – including Hong Kong – by over 6m teu in the first quarter of 2020. This volume contraction is expected to reduce global container throughput growth by at least 0.7% for the full year.

“The full impact of the Chinese coronavirus outbreak on container volumes will not be fully measurable until ports announce their throughput numbers for the first quarter, but data collected on weekly container vessel calls at key Chinese ports already shows a reduction of over 20% since 20 January,” Alphaliner warned in its latest weekly report, published five days ago.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. What is the point of publishing an arbitrary figure of $ 350 million per week?
    This sounds like sensationalist tabloid journalism at its worst (even if the figures were correct- which they clearly are not}.
    At least Alphaliner are conservative in their caveat that container volumes (and therefore financial impact} will not be fully measurable……….
    It’s all very well to establish an order of magnitude to show the effects on the shipping industry but let’s not descend to the depths of the Daily Mail.

  2. This week just few companies can return to producing. Most of companies will have to wait till next Monday.
    So impact will continue .

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