Coronavirus impact on imports expected to be larger than expected
WASHINGTON – The coronavirus outbreak is expected to have a longer and larger impact on imports at major U.S. retail container ports than previously believed as factory shutdowns and travel restrictions in China continue to affect production, according to the Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“There are still a lot of unknowns to fully determine the impact of the coronavirus on the supply chain,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “As factories in China continue to come back online, products are now flowing again. But there are still issues affecting cargo movement, including the availability of truck drivers to move cargo to Chinese ports. Retailers are working with both their suppliers and transportation providers to find paths forward to minimize disruption.”
“Now that we are in the coronavirus environment, uncertainty has expanded exponentially,” Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. “Our projections are based on the optimistic view that by the end of March or early April some sort of normalcy will have returned to trade.”
This month’s report comes as a separate NRF survey of members found 40 percent of respondents said they are seeing disruptions to their supply chains from the virus and that another 26 percent expect to see disruptions as the situation continues.