Major liner operators are getting their staff in China to work from home as the Chinese government has extended the Lunar New Year holidays to 9 February across several regions in a bid to curb the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The coronavirus surfaced in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hebei’s provincial capital, but has infected more than 14,000 people in China as of 2 February 2020, with around 300 deaths.
The original week-long holidays were scheduled to end on 30 January and have been stretched to 14 February in Hebei province, where a number of cities, including Wuhan, have been locked down.
France's CMA CGM Group said that its emergency management teams are monitoring the everyday situation.
Its subsidiary, APL, said: "APL is following up closely with all port authorities on their procedures for vessels calling China. So far, there has been no significant impact to vessel schedules. As of now, other than Wuhan port, all other Chinese ports remain open."
Denmark's Maersk Line said that it is watching the situation to ensure its employees' safety whilst mitigating impact to customers’ operations.
Maersk Line said: "For the majority of mainland China, staff and operational status remain the same with Maersk operations including terminal, warehousing, depots, offices and other facilities except Wuhan continuing to operate uninterrupted."
Hyundai Merchant Marine said that it has distributed emergency response guidelines to all its vessel operators and crew, in case they are affected by the coronavirus.
Pan-Japanese carrier Ocean Network Express (ONE) has similar measures in place.
China's flagship carrier COSCO Shipping Lines said that it will waive charges to reschedule all import and export shipments to and from China, from 24 January to 9 February.
"In response to the government's extension of the Lunar New Year holidays, we will have staff on standby to attend to customers," said the company.