Cargo flow at the major coastal ports in China is beginning to normalize and business operations have now entered the recovery phase, French container shipping major CMA CGM said in an advisory on coronavirus impact.
As informed, manufacturing activities in mainland China are gradually picking up, and more port workers and truck drivers are returning to their posts.
The news comes amid declining numbers of new cases of coronavirus infections in China.
As such, the World Health Organization (WHO) has proposed careful monitoring of the phased lifting of the current restrictions on movement and public gatherings. The lifting of quarantine measures is beginning with the return of workers and migrant labor, followed by the eventual reopening of schools and lifting other measures.
“The CMA CGM Group strives to better support our customers as their business activities recover without compromising the health and well-being of our staff and partners in China.
“Starting from March 2nd, 2020, alternate teams of employees will be deployed at our offices at different work schedules. Employees working from home during designated hours will continue to provide services on a remote basis, the company said.
“CMA CGM Group remains fully committed to complying with any regulatory requirements and policies aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19.”
All of the Chinese ports, apart from Wuhan, have remained open during the outbreak. However, they have been operating at a reduced capacity amid staff shortages arising from travel restrictions and quarantine measures.
Among the main quarantine measures were factory closures, which resulted in a decrease of containerized exports out of China. As a result, carriers resorted to blanking of sailings to deal with the lower demand.
The outbreak resulted in reefer shipments being diverted and relocated amid a shortage of reefer plugs on shore at certain Chinese ports, primarily Shanghai, Tianjin, and Ningbo terminals.
According to the latest update from WHO, globally there have been 88,948 confirmed COVID-19 infections, with 80, 174 confirmed cases in China. Outside China, 8,774 cases were confirmed, spreading across 64 countries around the world.
In particular, there have been sudden increases of cases in Italy, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Korea, which WHO described as ‘deeply concerning’.
To date, 1501 COVID-19 cases, including 66 deaths, have been reported in Iran.
There are now cases linked to Iran in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman, along with cases linked to Italy in Algeria, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland.
In view of such developments, WHO upgraded the global risk of the coronavirus outbreak to “very high” – its top level of risk assessment.
The WHO has said there is still a chance of containing the virus if its chain of transmission is broken.
The UN has released USD 15 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help fund global efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus. The grant is aimed at providing help to the countries with fragile health systems to boost their detection and response operations.
The WHO has called for USD 675 million to fund the fight against coronavirus.