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Coronavirus claims another victim: Major maritime conference

More companies ban corporate travel, putting pressure on airlines, hotels and events

One of the largest annual gatherings of container industry professionals has been canceled due to the growing threat of the coronavirus.

IHS Markit said Monday it canceled the TPM Conference, scheduled for March 1-4 in Long Beach, California, as well as other major events this month in the interest of public health.

Also canceled are the March 9-13 CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, the March 24-27 World Petrochemical Conference in New Orleans and various smaller conferences.

IHS Markit said the cancelations will deprive it of $50 million in revenue and ding profits by 9 cents per share of adjusted earnings.

The cancellations are an indication of the drop airlines and hotels are seeing in critical business travel as many companies try to protect employees, led by’s elimination of nonessential domestic travel. If airlines issue refunds for prior bookings, the impact on revenue will be even worse.

The International Air Transport Association’s World Cargo Symposium scheduled for March 10-14 in Istanbul is still on as of Monday afternoon, as is the CNS Partnership conference in Dallas/Fort Worth in late April, according to organizers.

Many groups are evaluating the situation day by day and looking at options. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is supposed to make a final decision by the end of Wednesday on whether to proceed with its 2020 Trade Symposium in Anaheim, California, March 10-11, according to a notice from the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America.

The International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading’s regional conference is taking place in Austin, Texas, but attendance appears to be down from previous years, said Robert Convey, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Aeronautical Engineers Inc.

The American Association of Port Authorities spring conference in Washington, scheduled for March 17-19, is going ahead as planned, spokesman Aaron Ellis said.

FreightWaves Live in Atlanta is still on for May 5-6.

Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at