COVID-19, Shipping & China – Some Good News?

CMA CGM, one of the biggies in the container transport and shipping world – usually ranked fourth behind Maersk Line, MSC and COSCO – whose distinctive blue-hulled container ships regularly dock on the northside at Fremantle Port, have just provided a glimpse into what is happening on the docks in Mainland China following the outbreak of the coronavirus.

On 2 March 2020, CMA CGM updated customers on their operational arrangement due to the ‘evolving’ COVID-19 situation in Mainland China.

They advised that manufacturing activities are ‘gradually picking up, more port workers and truck drivers are returning to their posts, and cargo flow is easing up at the major coastal ports. In short, business operations have now entered the recovery phase.’

The CMA CGM Group said that they strive to better support customers as their business activities recover ‘without compromising the health and well-being of our staff and partners in China’.

Starting from 2 March, apparently alternate teams of employees will be deployed at CMA CGM agency offices at different work schedules. Employees working from home during designated hours will continue to provide services on remote basis.

While a general statement, this suggests there are signs a recovery is underway in China, and a return to normal manufacturing and freight activity out of China perhaps can be expected before too long.

Good news if this is confirmed by more shipping company reports in coming days. At least, reason for some optimism things are getting better, not worse – at least in China.