China has reported a significant decrease in COVID-19 cases through March, which has allowed workers to return to posts and ports to return to normal cargo operations.

But with virus outbreaks now overwhelming healthcare systems and shutting logistics channels in other major economies, exporters and industry analysts warn that global demand for products made and shipped out of China looks set to plunge, Reuters reports.

Namely, China’s container processing volumes reduced by 10.6% in the first two months of 2020 compared to 2019, while exports fell by 17.2%.

As explained, the return of manufacturing and logistics operations in March brought volumes up again, but exporters fear that outbound shipments may be in for an even steeper slump in the coming months.

There is widespread concern among ports and shipping companies that the coronavirus overseas will hamper demand and in return take a toll on production in China,

...secretary general at China Ports & Harbours Association Ding Li was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Meanwhile, Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China Economist at Capital Economics added the export slump could drag on throughout 2020, estimating China’s second-quarter exports could contract as much as 30% year-on-year.

Container vessel utilisation rates from Shanghai to north America and Europe were at 85% last week, down by 10% from a week earlier, according to data by Shanghai Shipping Exchange.