Covid-19 has arguably been one of the most disruptive forces to have emerged for a long time. As if the hanging axe that the health threat poses isn’t bad enough for us all to deal with, it’s having a dramatic impact upon the economy and all forms of business. So, if your business relies upon international freight, how might coronavirus affect you?

Covid-19, Shipping and Logistics

How is coronavirus affecting the import/export business?

The virus has, so far, impacted upon the import/export industry in three main ways:

A reduction of goods

As first China, then Italy went into lockdown, the production of numerous goods has slowed and, in some cases, stopped. The disruption this has created is likely to grow as the virus spreads and more containment measures are put in place globally.

Restricted movement

The ports of China are currently being described as a ‘floating quarantine’. In tandem with the slowdown in manufacturing, this is seriously impacting upon the movement of goods globally, including produce coming into the UK.

While cargo is still moving in and out of locked down Italy, it is at a reduced level. And the virus has already brought trade between Italy and Turkey to a complete standstill. This could lead to further ramifications to the wider shipping industry. Particularly as more countries are affected by the virus.

Staffing

In the UK, so far, coronavirus has had minimal impact in terms of confirmed cases. However, as Government advice for self-isolation has been issued, this could well change. The impact of this could lead to delays in freight movement as warehouse staff numbers are reduced. Loading and logistics could take longer. And there may be a reduction in movement of goods if drivers become infected by the virus.

Advice for dealing with coronavirus

As of the time of writing (13/03/20), there are no major restrictions relating to coronavirus in the UK. However, the Government has issued advice on how to limit its spread in the workplace.

  1. Provide adequate sanitisation facilities for all colleagues. Either hand gel sanitiser or hot water and soap.
  2. Provide guidance on the correct method of hand washing. https://youtu.be/bQCP7waTRWU]
  3. Sanitise all communal areas regularly, maintaining a hygiene monitoring system to ensure that no areas are overlooked.
  4. If any member of staff presents any of the coronavirus symptoms – coughing, sneezing, fever – they should self-isolate and not return to work until the virus has either been ruled out, or symptoms have completely disappeared. This may take up to a fortnight.

At Plexus Freight, we’re doing everything we can to keep our team safe, well and on the road. And, importantly, to keep our client’s freight moving. But we do take our responsibilities as a business very seriously too. All of our team members have been made aware of the symptoms and provided with guidance on the NHS-recommended course of action should symptoms appear.

In the meantime, it’s business as usual. So, if you are looking for a company to take care of your freight forwarding needs across Europe, get in touch for a quote.