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AMSTERDAM, March 9 (Reuters) – The number of container ships travelling from China to the port of Rotterdam seems to have recovered slightly, as coronavirus measures that had significantly curbed traffic from China have been eased, the port’s CEO said on Monday.
“A few weeks ago we estimated that the number of ships leaving ports in China had dropped by about 20%”, the Chief Executive of Europe’s largest port, Allard Castelein, told Dutch radio broadcaster BNR.
“This seems to have recovered somewhat, but we also see that ships carry less cargo than before.”
Castelein added that it was still too early to assess the total implications of the coronavirus outbreak on international trade.
“It is very unclear how this situation will develop, we can only say it will have a significant impact.”
Last month the port said it expected the flow of goods from China to Rotterdam to decrease by about 2 million tonnes per month if the coronavirus outbreak continued to disrupt international trade.
Total throughput through the Dutch port already flatlined at 469 million tonnes last year as slowing international trade halted many shipments from Asia in the last months of 2019.
Rotterdam handled 159 million tonnes of goods carried in containers last year, with 45% of the shipments either coming from or going to Asia. (Reporting by Bart Meijer Editing by Peter Graff)(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.
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