The Impact of Coronavirus on the World’s Logistics and Supply Chain

By now, people everywhere are aware of the coronavirus and many are feeling its effects in some way or another. This is especially true within the logistics industry, where many ships and means of transport come from or go to China. As more and more companies in China are shutting down their operations with the outbreak of the virus, the ripple effects are being felt across global supply chains. According to CNN, since the outbreak of the virus in December, 305 people have died and more than 17 000 have been infected globally.


What exactly is Human Coronavirus?

According to the CDC, this coronavirus’ origins are similar to both MERS-CoV (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). This new strain, like the other coronaviruses, originated from animals and many of the people infected either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the centre of the Chinese city, which also sold live and newly slaughtered animals. The virus is contagious and spread by air when coughing or sneezing, wiping the eyes or the nose after touching a contaminated surface, and after direct contact with someone who has the virus. With no vaccines available to combat the coronavirus, there are only so many steps you can take to protect yourself.


Fewer transport options are available.

Shippers who are looking to transport goods out of mainland China can expect to see a reduction in airfreight capacity as Cathay Pacific, a major cargo and passenger airline for this region, has cut its capacity by 50% for March. Countries are also implementing strict travel restrictions to try and contain the coronavirus. In America, for example, foreign nationals who have visited China in 14 days prior to their arrival in the USA will be denied access.


Maritime Safety Precautions

Containing the spread of the coronavirus through shipping might be challenging, but all countries are doing their best to keep their staff safe and prevent contraction. The U.S. Coast Guard has released Maritime Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) 01-20, “Novel Coronavirus Precautions.” We can expect delays in shipping as well as changes in schedules.


It was unfortunate that the coronavirus reared its head right before China’s busiest travel season, with over 600 million people travelling home to celebrate Lunar New Year which is one of the country’s biggest public holidays. Businesses in China have been shut down, as have cities, in an effort to contain the virus as much as possible. China’s productivity has certainly taken a dip, and as a key player in the global supply chain and logistics industry, the effects have been felt throughout the world.


With uncontrollable challenges such as the coronavirus, you want to avoid putting added strain on your business’s logistics. Trust TSI and our team of exports to keep your business on track. Send an email to for more information.

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