Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“Mr. Cotton is currently asymptomatic and has self-quarantined at his home while maintaining a full schedule. Any staff members who have had close contact with him in recent days are also working from home as they follow the guidelines and protocols put in place by the New York State Department of Health,” the port authority informed.
Based on the latest information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of Sunday, March 8, there were around 500 cases across 34 states and New York City and DC, including 19 deaths, 18 of which were reported in Washington and one in California.
Nearly half of the reported cases of coronavirus infections originate from California and Washington, Nancy Messonnier, M.D., Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a telebriefing on March 9.
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 on Monday by the U.S. 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.
U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.82 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in January, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 5.7 percent from December but down 3.8 percent from unusually high numbers a year ago related to U.S. tariffs on goods from China.
February was estimated at 1.42 million TEU, slightly above the 1.41 million TEU expected a month ago but down 12.6 percent from last year and significantly lower than the 1.54 million TEU forecast before the coronavirus began to have an effect on imports. March is forecast at 1.32 million TEU, down 18.3 percent from last year and less than the 1.46 million TEU expected last month or the 1.7 million TEU forecast before the virus.
April, which had not previously been expected to be affected, is now forecast at 1.68 million TEU, down 3.5 percent from last year and lower than the 1.82 million TEU forecast last month.
While the coronavirus makes forecasting difficult, the report calls for imports to jump to 2.02 million TEU in May, a 9.3 percent increase year-over-year, on the assumption that Chinese factories will have resumed most production by then and will be trying to make up for lower volume earlier. June is forecast at 1.97 million TEU, up 9.6 percent year-over-year, and July is forecast at 2.03 million TEU, up 3.3 percent year-over-year.