Coronavirus takes toll on port cargoes, global supply chains
Professional Mariner|May 2020
Coronavirus takes toll on port cargoes, global supply chains
While there are no reported cases of cargo ship crews bringing coronavirus to U.S. ports, the same is not true for cruise ships. Grand Princess, shown arriving in the Port of Oakland on March 9, had 19 confirmed cases among 1,100 crew. Two passengers also were infected. The ship idled for days off the coast as officials set up quarantine procedures.
David A. Tyler

American ports have been severely hit by the reduction in shipping from China due to the coronavirus outbreak, with officials reporting that cargo volumes are likely to drop 20 percent for the first quarter of 2020. Combined with the virus’ impact on other forms of transportation around the world, supply chains likely will be disrupted for months.

As Professional Mariner went to press in mid-March, there had been no reports of coronavirus (COVID19) among commercial crews arriving at U.S. ports, excluding cruise ships. Ironically, because of the time it takes for sailings from China to North America, most cases can be detected before the ships arrive in port.

While non-cruise ship crewmembers have not yet been impacted, the virus has taken a heavy toll on overall container volume. An informal survey of U.S. port officials shows that the average decline will be about 20 percent, according to Aaron Ellis, spokesman for the American Association of Port Authorities.

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May 2020