Anti-viral inspections in Qinghai province.
While there are no major forklift factories in the Hubei province, the origin of the coronavirus currently spreading globally, the outbreak is certainly affecting Chinese forklift manufacturing.
According to The South China Morning Post
, the Chinese economy remains on lockdown, with factories in 14 provinces, covering 70% of the country's gross domestic product and 80% of its exports, ordered not to open until Monday at the earliest.
Many Chinese materials handling equipment factories were meant to reopen this week after the Lunar New Year holiday.
Informed sources say it's unlikely that manufacturing will resume as normal next Monday, "given the virus is still spreading, albeit at a slower rate in recent days," the report adds. Observers explain that huge numbers of migrant workers are trapped in parts of China that are under an official lockdown covering more than 60 million people, while many others are in areas unofficially closed off by local officials.
has heard from many close to the Chinese forklift industry that the major manufacturers are planning to re-open on either February 10 or February 17. Some are unsure of their ability to get back to work because of disruptions to public transport.
Many in the industry are reluctant to comment publicly in the face of the growing crisis, but we will monitor the situation and will present updates and on-the-record comments as soon as possible.
Two Chinese manufacturers rank in the top 10 forklift makers - Anhui Forklift Truck Group, ranked seventh and known best for its Heli brand, and Hangcha, which is eighth. Almost all the large western brands have close links and manufacturing operations in China, either through joint ventures or Chinese subsidiaries.