‘Coronavirus may hit Dutch supply chains from China’
‘The coronavirus outbreak could endanger the supply of Dutch companies doing business with China,’ says Bart Vos, scientific director of the Brightlands Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (BISCI) and affiliated with Maastricht University. Several ports in China will remain closed longer after celebrating the Chinese New Year.
‘Because of the Chinese New Year, most Chinese companies were already planned to close down, but the virus has in many cases prolonged that closure by a week, causing problems for Western customers with the supply of parts,’ says Vos. Shanghai, for example, which is the world’s busiest container shipping port, will remain closed until 9 February.
‘This outbreak certainly also has an impact on the global economy. In 2003, the SARS virus already caused considerable economic damage, but now China is a much bigger player in global chains,’ says the expert on procurement management and supply chains. ‘As in 2003 with SARS, the economic dip will be temporary, but in the coming months, Dutch companies will also suffer from this situation.’
Port of Wuhan closed
Vos also points out that the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus originated and which is currently ‘locked up’, is an important logistics hub in central China. Ships can no longer enter its port after China imposed a ban on ship entry on 23 January.
The statements were made in a commentary on new figures from the Dutch Association of Purchasing Managers (Nevi) about the activity in Dutch industry. This shrank less sharply in January than in December. According to Vos, the shrinkage is now almost negligible. ‘However, it would be premature to sit back now. After all, the Netherlands is an open economy and globally there is still some uncertainty.’
Picture by Hubei Provincial People’s Government.