On 24 February, Hellenic Shipping News reported on the effects of the virus on what it describes as the “lifeblood” of the world economy, saying that figures provided by cargo ship traffic paint a gloomy picture. It comments on shipping indices showing a sharp decline. As an example, it cites one French company which has banned its sailors from going ashore in China and stopped relieving its crews at Chinese ports, resulting in considerable disruptions. The article comments that China does not just produce goods but is also a major consumer with a booming middle class and the world’s largest population, and that it is said to account for about 35% of all seaborne dry bulk imports in the world.
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