Ocean shipping is passing through multiple stages of coronavirus fallout, and the journey appears far from over.
Stage one combined a containerized-goods supply shock and bulk-commodity demand shock, both centered in China and driven by temporary closures of factories, mills, plants, land transport and terminals.
Stage two, now underway, features a containerized-goods demand shock centered in developed Western nations, driven by social distancing and quarantines. China’s containerized-goods export system is generally back up and running. The question has turned to whether China will receive enough new orders.
What might stage three look like? One plausible scenario entails an extension of the demand shock as the quarantine segues into a global recession, combined with a cargo supply shock driven by coronavirus restrictions on ocean shipping itself.
So far, the ocean-shipping