The global freight industry is looking at several months before getting back to normal after the Covid-19 coronavirus disrupted manufacturing and supply chains in China and beyond.

A report from the shipping data group Alphaliner said carriers had pulled a total of 1.67 million containers of capacity from China services since the start of the Lunar New Year holiday.  Since then, container lines have lost a total of $2.3 Billion (US$1.5 Billion) in business.

The global logistics consultant SeaIntelligence said the loss of traffic was running at 300,000 per week.

"This would cause a logistical crunch in Europe in early March even if the epidemic is brought under control quickly," said the company founder Lars Jense.

The world's largest shipping company A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S is warning of an unexpected fourth quarter loss, having canceled dozens of sailings out of China since late January due to factories extending its shut down period over the Lunar New Year holiday.  Maersk reported a revenue fall of 5.6 percent to $9.67 Billion, missing expectations of $9.94 Billion, as its shipping unit lowered capacity to adjust to market conditions.  Chief executive Soren Skou said the company has struggled to resume production and quarantines and travel restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the virus have had "a huge impact" on China's export volumes.

"It's also hurting import volumes with not enough truck drivers to move things around," Mr. Skou added.