Categories: Europe, LiverpoolPublished On: 16.03.2020291 words1.5 min read

Most goods from China have stopped arriving in Ireland – representing 1,000 containers in weekly imports – and aren’t expected to resume for several weeks.

Dublin Port chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly. Photo: PA

Dublin Port says 17pc of its usual imports have been “exposed to the impacts of the coronavirus”. It declined to specify how sharp that impact has been or to indicate when normal inflows of Chinese goods might return.

Chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly said he “cannot comment meaningfully” on the situation before the port’s first-quarter numbers, due in April.

But two well-placed port sources – speaking to the Irish Independent on condition of anonymity – said the fall-off in goods from China equates to around 10pc of total container volumes that normally arrive at this time of year. They calculated the loss at 1,000 to 1,200 containers a week.

This lack of Chinese imports is spread among the three terminal operators responsible for offloading containers arriving from European ports: Doyle Shipping, Irish Continental Group and Peel Ports.

Liverpool-based Peel Ports handles incoming cargo from Maersk, the world’s biggest cargo line. Irish Continental handles containers from MSC, short for the Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Company. Doyle works with a French container and shipping company called CMA CGM.

All three are major shippers of goods from China.

Both officials – requesting anonymity because their commercial partners did not want to discuss their exposure to business losses – said their representatives in Chinese ports were reporting a strong rebound in operations there . . . .

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“The Chinese were shipping nearly nothing a few weeks ago. Now they’re starting to take orders again and are operating at somewhere between 30pc and 50pc of their normal capacity. It’s a remarkable turnaround,” said one.