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Trade industry feeling economic impact amid coronavirus outbreak

The Port of Virginia is expecting a drop of 44,000 import containers due to the coronavirus. Some ships are idle throughout parts of the Commonwealth.

NORFOLK, Va. — As the coronavirus continues to spread in countries throughout the world, the Port of Virginia is feeling the impact.

A recent update from the Port of Virginia said in January that empty container exports fell more by more than 27 percent. That drop directly attributed to the coronavirus and quarantines in China.

It’s just the beginning.

John Reinheart, the CEO of Port of Virginia said from February through April, they expect a drop of 44,000 import containers due to the coronavirus.

“As China works to stem the spread of this virus, its manufacturing output has slowed significantly and this is having an adverse effect on import and export cargo volumes at ports around the world, including Virginia,” said Reinheart.

“We are in constant contact with our customers, the ocean carriers, to get a better understanding of how they are adjusting their cargo forecasts and their vessel schedules in response to the issue. Several ocean carriers calling Virginia have told us that there will be an increase in the number of blank sailings [vessels that are on the schedule, but kept idle] here and at ports around the world. As we get this information, we are passing it along to our partners and stakeholders to help them prepare."

Reinheart said it’ll take some time to recover from the anticipated losses.

“As we go forward, our focus will be to continue to deliver efficiency for our customers, partners, and stakeholders. In that effort, we’re using this period to fine-tune our systems and perform necessary maintenance in preparation for the recovery of volume. We’ll also continue to support the US Coast Guard and other governmental agencies as this situation evolves,” he said.

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