The container shipping industry could lose 17 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of shipments this year due to coronavirus uncertainties.
Dutch shipping analysis provider, SeaIntelligence, noted that the industry might be looking now at developments similar to what was seen during the 2008 financial crisis.
"This implies a potential volume loss of 10% equal to 17 million TEUs globally," SeaIntelligence said.
Lars Jensen, CEO of SeaIntelligence said for the ports and terminals, they will be potentially looking at a loss of some 80 million TEU of handling volume in 2020.
The firm noted that the main concern is the impact of the coronavirus in the longer term — possibly even beyond 2020 as both consumers and companies may hold off on spending due to possible liquidity issues. Risks of bankruptcies are also realistic.
"Even if this negative scenario plays out fully, we also need to be prepared for the aftermath which will come in the shape of a sharp rebound where we will temporarily see capacity shortages and rocketing freight rates," SeaIntelligence added.
Meanwhile, it said the dropping oil prices and the discipline carriers have shown in blanking sailings to avoid dumping freight rates to fill vessels provided a lift to the industry.
“This means that until now rates have been relatively stable despite the coronavirus impact from China and might well also be through the coming period if we see a new raft of blank sailings,” SeaIntelligence further said.