Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, told CNBC on Tuesday that based on a sharp slowdown in shipping he believes the economic drag from the new coronavirus will turn out to be larger than SARS.

Seroka was working in Shanghai for a Singapore-based container and shipping company, called American President Lines, during the outbreak nearly two decades ago of severe acute respiratory syndrome, which also originated in China.

“At that time, we were all grounded. We weren’t moving around domestically nor internationally. This appears to be much worse because of the number of folks who were infected and the lack of productivity that is taking place through the supply chain, starting with the manufacturing base,” Seroka said in a “Squawk Box” interview.

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