(Bloomberg) --

China’s trucking industry is gradually resuming work but most companies are still not working at full capacity, showing the hurdles for the economy to return to normal after the paralysis and shutdowns due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Over 60% of logistics companies and about 70% of transport vehicles have returned to work as of the end of February, Gao Gao, an official at the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a press conference Friday. However despite the rising return rates, logistics companies are mostly not operating at full capacity, with some at less than half their normal levels, he said.

The slow resumption is due to a shortage of staff, who are subject to 14-day quarantines, and also because of weak demand for transportation as most industries are struggling to restore production, according to Gao.

“The logistics industry was greatly impacted by the epidemic, with both passenger and freight transport volumes evidently lower,” transport ministry official Liu Xiaoming said at the same briefing. Passenger volume on trains, planes, ships and on the road dropped almost 80% in February, while freight transport volume dropped by 26.5% and the number of taxi and ride-sharing rides fell 85%, he said. Liu didn’t specify what period the comparison was for.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Lin Zhu in Beijing at lzhu243@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeffrey Black at jblack25@bloomberg.net, James Mayger

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