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Coronavirus in China affects local businesses

Ships grounded by the coronavirus, in China, have businesses in the Utica area waiting for products.

Posted: Feb 18, 2020 5:32 PM
Updated: Mar 6, 2020 4:16 PM

UTICA, N.Y. -- Ships grounded by the coronavirus, in China, have businesses in the Utica area waiting for products.

"It's had a big impact; we have about 300 orders that we're waiting on," says Steve Sperbeck, general manager of ERL Intermodal, off of Wurz Avenue, in Utica.

ERL Intermodal sends truck drivers to five ports in New York and New Jersey, to pick up large containers that arrive by ship, from China, and deliver them to multiple area businesses. Smaller distances traveled mean smaller paychecks.

"So they get paid, miles, stops, drop and hooks so if we don't have enough to pick up out of the port, we might send them to Rochester, Syracuse only so they're getting 200 miles instead of 550 miles," said Sperbeck. "It's been challenging to find work for the drivers to keep everybody going."

Once the ships are moving again, the temporily-sparse paychecks will quickly grow.

"On the back side, once it does free up, we're gonna get bombed all at once," said Sperbeck.

But one the ships are moving again, they won't show up from China, overnight.

"Four to six weeks before it hits here," says Sperbeck.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 394079

Reported Deaths: 32043
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New York City21547523104
Nassau418532183
Suffolk414271981
Westchester348661425
Rockland13602668
Orange10730478
Erie7337634
Dutchess4213151
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Saratoga55014
Columbia46637
Madison35717
Orleans28151
Steuben26841
Ontario2659
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Greene26018
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Washington24614
Genesee2385
St. Lawrence2192
Oswego2013
Tompkins1770
Wayne1743
Herkimer1623
Chenango1465
Chemung1442
Tioga14324
Livingston1308
Chautauqua1277
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Cayuga1192
Montgomery1184
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