Coronavirus: Supply Chain update @ 20th Feb

February 20, 2020 4:16 pm

With the extended Chinese New Year holidays officially over last week for most, we are starting to see businesses beginning to return to work, once permitted by Chinese authorities. We’ve summarised the key status updates as the situation gradually begins to improve.

Factories are starting to operate again from this week with reduced capacity, mainly due to the restrictions on Chinese workers as travel remains high risk. This is also affecting trucking and road transportation, with many road closures still in place.

Ocean Freight

All Chinese ports, apart from Wuhan, are operating to some degree but with a lingering lack of capacity while staffing levels remain low. Ocean freight movements are still greatly affected with the expectation of blank sailings set to continue.

With the growing potential for containers to be stranded at China ports, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) has raised concerns that carriers may charge detention and demurrage fees for delayed boxes, out of the control of forwarders.

Ocean carriers are reporting the below status updates for sailings from major ports


Region Ocean Freight Operating Status
Hong Kong Normal
Shenzhen Normal
Shanghai Blank sailings announced
Ningbo Blank sailings announced
Qingdao Blank sailings announced
Tianjin Blank sailings announced
Dalian Blank sailings announced
Fuzhou Blank sailings announced
Xiamen Blank sailings announced

The disruption to sailing schedules has resulted in major congestion at Chinese ports. Capacity for reefer containers is particularly challenging with some major ports including Shanghai and Ningbo now at full capacity.


A large amount of cargo capacity has been removed from the global market due to the suspension of passenger flights and cancellations are expected to continue until the end of March.

Freighter capacity has been maintained, but increasing demand is causing congesting at warehouses. As the market attempts to normalise volumes, demand for airfreight will continue to increase causing sharp rises in rates.

For urgent ocean shipments, we may be able to advise an alternative airfreight routing. Please contact us for a comparison.

Our advice is to remain prepared for disruption and delays, potentially into April.

Some steps you can take now to protect your supply chain include:

  • Keeping suppliers and partners informed of production schedules and timescales
  • Update stock, supply and demand forecasts
  • Be flexible with routing and modal shift. Our team can advise best routes to minimise delays
  • Focus on the long term picture, use risk chain analysis to protect your supply chain sooner

Find out more about these and other practical steps you can take by listening to our recent webinar.

As always, our team are on hand to support and will keep you updated should the situation affect your shipment. For specific updates, contact us on 020 8539 8899 or

Posted in: ,