Two explosions in the Chinese port city of Tianjin that killed 173 people last month could generate cargo losses of at least $1.5 billion, according to the International Union of Marine Insurance.
Tianjin, which is the third biggest port in the world and roughly 75 miles from Beijing, was rocked by a series of blasts on Aug. 12 that displaced thousands of people from their homes and destroyed buildings for miles around.
“We are expecting to see cargo losses of at least $1.5 billion, with some reports stating that the final figure could be as high as $6 billion,” Nick Derrick, chairman of the trade body’s cargo committee, told Reuters this week.
Credit Suisse analysts had put initial insurance-loss estimates for buildings, cargo, containers and property between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, but it’s become apparent that actual losses could surpass that prediction.
Chinese authorities are investigating current and retired government officials for malfeasance in connection to the explosion, as well as executives of Tianjin Ruihai International Logistics, the company that owned the chemical warehouse where the blasts took place.
It was China’s worst industrial disaster in recent years. Last week, authorities said they were ending the search for survivors. Clean-up work at the site is ongoing.