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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