Coronavirus Update

Our good friends at Freight and Trade Alliance (FTA) have been providing industry with updates on how the spread of the coronavirus is effecting importers and exporters worldwide. 

EES Shipping staff continues to provide our award winning service with staff situated remotely and also in the office. 

Below you will find their wrap up:

China – Update

Our sources from China have provided us with the following updates

  • Imported or related COVID-19 case numbers are still increasing in China. Currently Heilongjiang province, in N/E China, is facing a big challenge with most cases coming from the border with Russia. Other provinces are under control at this stage, with only 17 cities still having confirmed cases under treatment out of total 337 cities in China.
  • Hubei province has been able to start business activities. According to Wuhan International Container Co., Ltd(April 8), the management company of Wuhan port, Wuhan port was back to normal operational level.
  • Shanghai Yangshan Port has confirmed effective March 2020 they were back to 95.3% volume, the same as this period last year. The ports in China are controlling / monitoring crews debarkation of vessels, eg; Ningbo Port has reported 20 cases which involved 113 crews since March 1.
  • ÓNE,Maersk/MSC will suspend CAE service(China- EC Australia Service) until at least Q2 this year with the last sailing departing from Xiamen on 22 April.
  • According to Shipping China news, as at March 27, business entities registered in Import/Export registration with Chinese Customs has reduced by almost 37,000. They are expecting more reductions for the second season of 2020.
  • According to China Customs Notice No.53 April 10. Effective April 10, eleven (11) medical related items (medical use only) will be inspected to assure the quality of the exported goods. These shipments can expect delays for shipment – see below list with HS codes  
  • 6307.90  Medical Face mask
  • 6210.10/3926.20  Medical protective garments
  • 9025.19  Thermometers /  9019.20 Medical Ventilators
  • 6505.00  Hair Net for Medical use / 9004.90 Protective Spectacles and goggles
  • 3926.20 / 4015.11 / 4015.19 Medical Gloves
  • 6307.90 / 3926.90 / 4016.99 Shoe Covers for the Medical use
  • 9018.19   Patient Monitoring Devices
  • 3005.90  Medical wadding, gauze, etc
  • 3808.94  Disinfectants (including medical sanitiser, not confirmed whether this covers hand sanitiser as yet)

General  Updates

  • North America –  the main ports continue to operate albeit with reduced hours  / days as is dictated by vessel volumes. Blanked sailings announced by trans-Pacific carriers demonstrate the steep decline in consumer demand for northern summer and back-to-school merchandise, and raise a stark warning of a possible peak-season bust later this summer. Some fear that widespread business shutdowns will plunge third-party logistics providers into “trench warfare” over pricing, and contribute to bankruptcies that could threaten capacity.
  • Europe – not dissimilar to the USA, Ports operational in most countries but processing is slow. Italy most impacted as reduced working hours compounding the issue. Italy and Spain also have bans on non-essential operations so these, eg; factories, warehouses etc, are closed. In parts of Europe, Austria and Czech Republic, restrictions are being lifted on small shops, garden centres and DIY stores. 
  • United KingdomLockdown March 23 and was to be assessed this week although it now seems it will be extended a further three weeks, as the plan seems to be working. All non essential shops close – supply chain still operating but a number of businesses are working from home which is impacting cargo delivery.
  • New Zealand – the four (4) week lockdown in New Zealand is due for review this week. We await with interest to see if, like the UK is expected to do, it is extended. At present there seems to be a divide in NZ between Health officials and academics as to when the lockdown level should be lowered and to what level 3 or 2.

 Economic Update                              

The strong market rebound continued on equity markets overnight. The coronavirus appears to be under control and contained. Various treasuries and banking institutions are releasing reports measuring the impact of the virus on global economies. These reports are giving markets more certainty and allowing risk appetite to grow.

Global markets are recovering confidence, as the focus shifts to lock-down exit strategies and the seeming containment of the virus. We are not out of the woods yet, but signs are positive and markets are reacting accordingly.  – See the full update HERE

Please view a presentation a presentation by Collinson Forex on 30 January 2020 showcasing latest technology solutions – refer HERE

Shipping Update

  • Detention / Demurrage – As mentioned in our last weekly update FTA wrote to the major Stevedores and Shipping Lines outlining our concerns should containers be held on the wharf or delayed in return to empty container parks due to COVID-19 related restrictions or lockdowns. Whilst we thank VICT / OOCL / Maersk / Ocean Network Express (ONE) / CMA-CGM and Hapag Lloyd for their responses and preparedness to work with their clients as the situation develops. It is disappointing that the two nationally operating stevedores are yet to reply. FTA will continue to seek commentary from all those who have not answered so that industry can have some certainty on these matters moving forward. These matters are even crucial following commentary over the weekend that storage space is becoming an issue in Victoria.

Risk Management                                     

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Insurance policy reviews – From James Cotis – Principal, at Logical Insurance Brokers
As each day passes, it is becoming very clear that hardly any industry around the globe will be spared from the impact of COVID-19. As global lockdowns wreak financial havoc on businesses of all sizes, those heavily indebted and/or unprofitable businesses are susceptible to bad performance during this period and possibly will not survive, despite government intervention including support such as tax breaks, loans and/or cash handouts.” – click HERE to see the full article from Logical Insurance Brokers
Business Operations
Statements from Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash
* Weekly Wrap  – includes Government modelling on Coronavirus reponse
Weekly Wrap – includes commentary on Commercial Tenancies
Assistance available to Small Businesses ( with state links )
Supporting  businesses to retain jobs – Jobkeeker payment

As government, businesses and community align to step up the global fight against COVID -19,  Austrade wish to provide some important updates  – please read the commentary from Austrade HERE –

To support Australian exporters, Qantas and Virgin Australia are offering air freight capacity on repatriation international passenger services to Auckland, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and London, from Thursday 9 April 2020. 
While these services are limited, this will give Australian producers a way to obtain valuable inputs for their businesses. 
The return flights to Australia will bring in vital medicines, medical supplies and equipment to support Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
The confirmed international flights will operate for approximately 4 weeks – see HERE for more details

WCO updates
* WCO and WTO join forces to minimize disruptions to cross-border trade in goods
WCO – Temporary Import Supports and Export Restrictions lists by country

We thank FTA for this comprehensive wrap up.