The organisers of the largest shipping conference, Transpacific Maritime (TPM) in Long Beach, have cancelled the event at the last minute, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“This decision was made following recent guidance from health officials and in light of the rapid growth in global cases of Covid-19, in particular in the western United States, over the past 24 hours, as well as increasing travel restrictions and other circumstances,” event organiser IHS Markit said on Saturday evening.

“This decision has been made with input from our customers and partners, and we are very grateful for their support in what has been a very difficult decision,” it added.

Although it began life to focus on the transpacific container shipping trade, the 20-year-old event has expanded over the years to become one of the key dates in the logistics industry calendar – this year’s event was expected to be attended by around 2,400 delegates.

TPM joins a growing list of industry events that have been cancelled as companies become increasingly reluctant to let executives travel in the face of how rapidly the virus appears to be spreading.

Last week the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) “postponed” its annual Singapore Maritime Week, due to be held in the third week of April, although the organiser said some of the events could be held later this year.

The WCA postponed its annual main conference in Macau last month. The TOC Asia Container Supply Chain conference, which runs alongside Singapore Maritime Week, has also been cancelled.

At the moment, IATA’s World Cargo Symposium in Istanbul next week is still going ahead, according to organisers.

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