The most recent China and shipping update from our friends at American Shipping Company (an excerpt):
Cargo Is Streamlining Much Better from China
Cargo has returned to levels before the COVID-19 outbreak, as production returns back to near normal, workers have returned from quarantines, and truck service improved as truck drivers are now less restricted due to the outbreak reductions.
Ocean Freight Capacity from China Remains a Challenge
Void sailings, that had already been announced during the outbreak of coronavirus within China, significantly limited the exports of containers as the volumes began to increase in recent weeks. It appears the announcements of new blank/void sailings beyond week 16 are now reducing, however the current stretch of sailings for 5 weeks, leading up to this point since week 10, has involved over 15 blank sailings amongst the alliances that are helping the carriers fully utilize their vessels and increase rate levels. It is reported that over 80 vessels just to the US West Coast, will have been cancelled between February and early April of 2020. Container rolling has started on the Transpacific Eastbound trade as space is carefully controlled, and carriers will prioritize higher revenue cargo first.
Ocean Freight Terminals in the USA Are Bracing for Significant Increases in Volumes in the Coming Months
This is while monitoring the COVID-19 and preparing for any contingency plans. History can guide us that once the inbound volumes turn up significantly and consistently, port and terminal congestion, chassis and driver shortages, as well as delays in recovery, delivery and returns, are all very likely to take place and will put a strain on the transportation market. Empty containers will enhance the congestion at the ports as the equipment imbalance remains an issue and will take many vessel strings and ongoing support of carriers to reposition them.