The Chinese economy is beginning to feel the negative impacts of the coronavirus, which originated in the Wuhan province of the country late last year, halting the economy and killing hundreds of thousands of people, as  the container volumes at the eight major Chinese hub ports in the first quarter of 2020 recorded a decline of 8.9 per cent year-on-year.

Also in the first quarter of this year, the Chinese shipbuilding output fell by 27.3 per cent due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw an extended closure of shipyards post Chinese New Year, according to statistics released by China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry Cansi, an indication that the economy has commenced a downward slide.

Meanwhile the overall cargo throughput of major Chinese coastal ports also declined 3.5 per cent.

According to the statistics released by China Ports & Harbours Association, the eight major Chinese ports posted a throughput of 37.63m Twenty Equivalent TEUs container in Q1, a decline of 8.9 per cent year-on-year.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the container throughput in February dropped by 19.8per cent while the volume in January and March declined 3.1per cent and 5.6per cent respectively.

The COVID-19 epidemic seriously impacted the foreign trade container business. In February the container volume of major international liner services at coastal hub ports declined 19.1per cent year-on-year.

Among them, volume of the North-US routes dropped 24.3per cent; European routes dropped 14per cent; Japan/South Korea routes dropped 24.6per cent. The situation improved in March; however, the numbers for North-US and Japan/South Korea routes declined 15.1 per cent and 12.7per cent respectively.

The major ports along Yangtze river recorded container volumes of 1.05m TEUs and 45.06m tons cargo volume in Q1, a decline of 16.8per cent and 8.8per cent year-on-year respectively.

The association forecasts continued declined on port cargo volume in Q2, and a shortage of cargo resources will be the common challenge for domestic ports.

In a separate report, China’s shipbuilding output in Q1 was stood at 7million dwt, showing a decline of 27.3per cent year-on-year. Meanwhile the orderbook in hand was 79.55million dwt, a decline of 5.6per cent and the newly received order volume were 4.89m dwt, an increase of 6.5per cent.

In Q1, the shipbuilding export output was 6.85million dwt, a decline of 26.3per cent year-on-year, while newly received export shipbuilding orders are 4.64m dwt, an increase of 12.1per cent. As at the end of March, export orders in hand totaled 73.19m dwt, a decline of 4.4.per cent.

The export shipbuilding order accounts for 97.9per cent, 94.9per cent and 92per cent of the total national shipbuilding volume output, newly received orders and orders in hand respectively.

The total industrial output value of 75 major Chinese shipbuilding industry players in Q1 was RMB61bn ($8.7bn) a drop of 21.5 per cent year-on-year. This figure includes a shipbuilding industry output value is RMB28.1bn, a decline of 18per cent; a shipbuilding supporting industry output of RMB3.96bn, a decline of 26.8per cent; and ship repair industry output of RMB3.3bn, an increase of 11.2per cent.

During the first quarter, the 75 major Chinese shipbuilding industry players posted RMB43.6bn ($6.2bn) main operational income, a drop of 15.6per cent year-on-year.

As at the end of March, China’s accomplished shipbuilding output, newly received orders and orders in hand hold 30.4per cent, 65.5per cent and 46.8per cent of global shipbuilding market share.