The CCPIT statement read that “some Chinese companies have suffered severe impacts on goods and logistics and may not be able to fulfil their contracts amid the coronavirus.”

Namely, companies that can provide legitimate documents, such as proof of delays or cancellation of transportation; or exports contracts and customs declaration to an online system can be granted force majeure certificates; the certification will also be recognized and accepted overseas.

GET THE SAFETY4SEA IN YOUR INBOX!

What is more, China has extended the Lunar New Year holiday to at least Sunday, February 2. But some regions, such as oil refining hub of Shandong province and automakers clustered Chongqing city, have asked companies not to resume operations before Monday, February 10, in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Currently, the death toll in the country from the virus tops 200; and the number of confirmed cases globally has risen rapidly in what the World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency.

Adding to this, the outbreak has already roiled global commodity markets, raising fears of weaker demand and disrupting raw material supply chains.

A Chinese government economist has forecast the country’s economic growth may drop to 5%, or even lower, from 6.1% in 2019.

Previously, the Tanker Research & Consulting department at Poten & Partners recently informed on the potential impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on the tanker market.

Poten & Partners have highlighted that it is highly uncertain at this point how the virus outbreak would further develop and what the implications would be on the Chinese as well as the global economy.

It was then said that the speed with which the virus spreads; how contagious and lethal the virus is- as well as the speed and effectiveness of the response of the Chinese government and the World Health Organization will all have an impact.

Poten & Partners stressed that the oil market had already traded down as concerns about the coronavirus are mounting and although the tanker market remains strong, rates have started to weaken. Although such events may not necessarily be connected, the market psychology was "turning negative."

In order to provide a clear picture of where the new virus has been detected, as well as the number of fatalities, the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins, has created a live, interactive map, which depicts in real time, the spread of the virus.