The coronavirus effects are rippling through the economy including a growing strain on the global shipping industry. This is creating particular challenges for agricultural sectors such as oranges and meat that don’t have access to enough refrigerated shipping containers or space on ocean vessels headed to China. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal:
“Shipping volumes out of China plummeted in February as factory shutdowns in the wake of the epidemic crimped industrial production. Containership operators have canceled nearly 60 trans-Pacific sailings to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., in the first quarter and more than 110 to all of North America. Normally there are about 200 sailings of container ships across the Pacific a month.”
Ground freight transportation is also suffering on both sides of the Pacific according to the article. In Los Angeles and Long Beach ports capacity is down and truckers are waiting more than twice as long to drop off and pick up containers. In some cases, they cannot even ship containers that are ready to go due to capacity shortages. In China, as many as 15 million of 30 million truck drivers are unable to drive due to travel restrictions.
Read more at The Wall Street Journal (N.B. paywall)