COVID-19 has caused shipping demand to fall and remain lower for much longer than in a usual year. The shipping industry had expected demand would be lower during the Chinese New Year celebrations and had introduced measures to deal with the lower demand such as blanking container ship sailings. However due to the outbreak of COVID-19 many shipping companies found themselves with no other option but to prolong these measures as countries responded by limiting travel and placing restrictions on the movement of goods.
As a result of the restrictions, some retailers and manufacturers found themselves unable to collect cargo as their warehouses were full or closed. This led to a sharp increase in demand for port storage facilities which in turn reduced the space available for new cargo. The shipping industry has also been affected by port closures and reduced staff where ports remain open which have caused delays. As a result of port closures and the suspension of air travel, many crew members found themselves stranded with no way to return home without government assistance.
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