Effects on Shipping from the Coronavirus Effect Far and Wide
The effects from the Coronavirus have started to have a negative impact on a number of shipping-related industries and markets, from the dry bulk market, to the tanker and from ship-repair businesses in China, to crew-training schools in the Philippines. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Intermodal said that “the coronavirus outbreak is estimated to negatively affect global economy by at least EUR400bn this year, representing around the 0.4% of global GDP. The degree to which different economies will be affected varies, with some countries looking at damages only in few industries. In that spirit, since the Greek economy is not very reliant to the Chinese one, we can assume that the sector that will suffer most will be tourism, taking into consideration the upcoming holiday cancellation domino effect from Asia based citizens”.
According to Intermodal’s SnP Broker, Mr. Zisis Stylianos, “the Chinese government announced that aggressive measures will come into effect in an effort to limit the impact of a major shock from the spread of the coronavirus outbreak to the global economy. Part of these measures will include a brave injection of 1.2 trillion yuan (EUR 156 billion) in the country’s financial system as well as tariff exemptions on US farm, medical and energy products. In an effort to assess the extent that the economic impact the virus outbreak will have, Goldman Sachs analysts estimated that only a 0.1%-0.2% of the global economy will be affected, with this cost climbing up to 0.3% of the global GDP in the most pessimistic scenario”.
Stylianos added that “the tanker market was the last one feeling the impact of the virus outbreak, with demand and rates being affected fairly recently compared to other sectors, however, if the spread continues for a long time, then Chinese demand for oil may experience contraction and push rates to even lower levels. On the dirty tanker market, we have seen a fall over the last weeks due to the lifting of US sanctions on Chinese-interest ships, with almost 40 VLCC tankers having returned to the market, significantly increasing the availability of tonnage as a result. In addition, as the countries of the West gradually enter the spring season, a brake on demand for tanker vessels is also on the cards due to seasonality”.
“On other news that could have a negative impact in the progress of the industry, the Manila Times newspaper pointed out the systematic failure of Philippine’s Naval Schools and Academies to meet the international standards of training for a variety of reasons, including the poor naval training system, especially for low-wage crews. According to the Philippine Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), 61 of the country’s 91 naval schools should immediately cease their operations as there is no compliance with the requirements of the STCW (International Maritime Organization Convention on Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers). A development like that, which concerns the two-thirds of naval schools in the country, will seriously affect the capacity to train seafarers and the international credibility of all graduates from the Philippine naval schools”, Intermodal’s analyst concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide