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Shipping Tips & Solutions

Coronavirus: Updates You Need to Know About

To help you navigate the uncertainty around the coronavirus, we're compiling daily updates of the most important developments in shipping and the economy.
Coronavirus: Updates You Need to Know About
Jules

By Jules

 

April 21, 2020

Every day, we’re seeing new developments around the coronavirus are that having far-reaching impacts on businesses around the world. To make sure you’re staying ahead of the game, we’re pulling all of the most important information each day into this one space so you know exactly what’s going on - and how it could affect you.

We are also providing updated disruptions to couriers in Hong Kong & Singapore as they come to hand. You can find details on these courier disruptions here.

Please check back for regular updates.


April 20, 2020

Ride-hailing app Uber has introduced two new service options to help people move goods during the pandemic. Uber Direct will allow retailers to send goods to customers within a local geographic region, while Uber Connect is a peer-to-peer service that can be used by people wanting to send care packages and supplies to friends and family in a local area.

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in some interesting shipping statistics as people stay home and worry about the potential health risks of global supplies. There's been a 13% increase overall in parcel shipping and a corresponding 17% increase in B2C eCommerce package shipping; we're also seeing a 9% increase in domestic shipping within the US and a 8% drop of international shipping. These figures are a year-on-year comparison between January-march 2019 and 2020.

After initially suspending third-party merchants' ability to use Fulfillment by Amazon services during the pandemic, Amazon will now slowly begin to allow these merchants to ship non-essential supplies to their warehouses. The move is sure to offer some much-needed relief for businesses that relied on FBA to move goods around the world and were severely impacted by the initial suspension.


April 17, 2020

The USPS has now suspended routes to 72 countries as a result of the pandemic. This list includes India, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa and will put a lot of pressure on companies that rely on USPS's affordable shipping services to deliver products to customers in these 72 countries.


April 14, 2020

With global supply chains in chaos, food processing plants being forced to close, and key workers falling sick, experts are warning the public to brace for food shortages. The entire farm-to-consumer supply chain is being affected with goods not being able to move.


April 8, 2020

The Japanese government is offering local firms $2.2 billion to move their manufacturing out of China as part of its economic stimulus plan. China is a major global manufacturer, producing the majority of the world's products. COVID-19 caused a major upheaval in global manufacturing and exposed how the world's reliance on Chinese manufacturing. Now, Japan wants to break its firms' reliance by giving them cash to move manufacturing back to the land of the rising sun.


April 2, 2020

With global supply chains heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and many governments now restricting the export of food supplies, American food firms are turning to domestic sources to maintain food supplies. The CEO of Oman Spices has said that in March, US domestic orders of onion, garlic, and chillies were up 20% from 2019.


April 1, 2020

UPS and FedEx are just two of a number of couriers to have suspended their service guarantees as a result of delays and route suspensions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. FedEx suspended its Money Back guarantee on March 24, while UPS suspended its service guarantees on March 26 and has extended delivery times on most routes.

The Trump administration has announced a 90-day tariff suspension for certain types of imports, including apparel and light trucks. The move is intended to help American businesses get through the economic pressures posed by the pandemic. However, the tariffs will not be wiped completely - instead, businesses will have to pay them at a yet-to-be-announced date. Additionally, the suspension would not apply to many Chinese imports.


March 26, 2020

With the whole of India in total lockdown, factories across the countries have closed. Production in the country was already slowing as demand from the US and Europe began drying up. Foxconn, a supplier for Apple, and MRF and Maxxis - two automotive suppliers - have both announced temporary factory closures that will remain in place until the lockdown is lifted.


March 25, 2020

Britain's logistics industry was already struggling to figure out how to cope with the ramifications of Brexit. Now, with the very real and immediate pressures on the COVID-19 pandemic, they're asking the British government to delay Britain's break with the EU in order to focus on getting food and medical supplies into the country while everyone is in lockdown.


March 24, 2020

Amazon has temporarily suspended the delivery of non-essential goods in France, Italy, and India. The move is a bid to ease pressure on its delivery services and ensure that customers are able to receive important essential supplies in good time. Third-party Amazon sellers that don't use the company's fulfillment services will still be able to send non-essential goods to customers as long as they're using courier services provided by other companies.



March 23, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many airlines to ground most of their fleets and caused an unprecedented low in belly capacity and spike in air freight rates. Now, many airlines are putting their passenger planes on cargo routes to try and ease pressure on supply chains. United and American Airlines are just two major carriers to reopt their planes for cargo flights beginning in late March.

Uber Freight, a subsidiary of ride-hailing app Uber, has announced a series of initiatives to support carriers and keep goods moving during the pandemic. These new measures include zero profit-pricing; weekly $20 Uber Eats credit for truck drivers; and the provision of sanitation kits.


March 20, 2020

Apple has managed to keep its business going so far during this pandemic, launching a new iPad pro and two new Macs. But, production for these items began before the lockdowns in China. Now, though its Chinese factories are slowly resuming production, they're not fully up to speed. And, with its Malaysian factories still in lockdown, the company may face some supply chain issues later this year.


March 19, 2020

Some couriers are announcing temporary emergency surcharges. The move is a response to decreased air freight capacity and corresponding increases in air freight rates. Easyship pricing has been updated for these couriers.

In the name of driver safety, signature services are being waived for couriers in many destination countries including the US, Canada & Australia.

See our list of disrupted courier services here.


March 18, 2020

Auto manufacturers across Europe and the US are shutting down production for several weeks due to interruptions in component supplies. Fiat has halted manufacturing in Italy, Serbia and Poland; Ford, GM and Tesla are no longer operational in the US and Europe.

Amazon has temporarily limited the intake of goods to its fulfillment centers from US and European Marketplace sellers. The move is a bid to focus its efforts on prioritizing household goods, medical supplies, and other products that are in high demand during the pandemic.

Truckers across the US are facing a number of hurdles as they work to maintain the country's supply chains in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Many truck-stop restaurants have switched to takeout-only service, while some states - like Pennsylvania - have closed state-run rest stops. In addition, deliveries have become more complicated with some customers asking drivers to stay in their trucks and others requesting to switch from paper to electronic documentation.


March 17, 2020

With so much panic-buying going on, retailers are rushing to keep their inventory stocked to meet the surge in demand. As a result there's been a corresponding increase in demand for trucking as retailers look to bring in more goods for their shelves. The DAT load-to-truck ratio, a measure of demand, increased 31% for vans and 33% for reefers between March 9 and 15.

Amazon has announced it will hire 10,000 new warehouse and delivery workers and raise their pay by $2/hour through April in response to the coronavirus. The new workers will sit across fulfillment centers, transportation, stores, and deliveries in order to keep up with unprecedented demand for online deliveries. Many of these workers will come from

With Malaysia imposing a nation-wide travel ban, Singaporeans are worried about what this means for supplies in the island nation. Singapore gets a large percentage of essential supplies, including food and water, from neighboring Malaysia - the two countries were one right up until 1965 - so the fear is valid. However, the Singapore government - which has one high praise for its handling of the pandemic - has raced to calm fears, assuring residents that country has “sufficient food supplies for all Singaporeans as long as all of us buy responsibly.”

Between January and March 2020, the cost of very low sulfer fuel oil has fallen 35% due to declining global oil prices; new IMO rules for shipping that were due to go into place this year have also been deferred because of the crisis. The results? A temporary cash infusion for ocean carriers.

Turns out, the warehousing sector may be well-equipped to weather the coronavirus storm. Thanks to long-term occupancy contracts, the ability to shift to more regional supply chains, and a potential increase in demand for space to combat current shortages in food and cleaning supplies, for example, could see the industry well-insulated for the brewing storm.


March 16, 2020

With much of the US practicing social distancing, many are turning to online shopping to pass the time or gather much-needed daily necessities. So, it's great to know that at this time, mail services remain (mostly) unaffected. USPS has temporarily suspended services to Hong Kong and China, but local services are still operating; FedEx is santising all equipment and says places with major coronavirus impact may experience delays; Amazon is still delivering, but is experiencing delays, limited stock - and is clamping down on price-gouging; while UPS is saying it's business as normal - even in China (except Wuhan).


March 11, 2020

There's no doubt that the coronavirus has had a major impact on shipping and supply chains. If you're wondering what these effects are, look no further. This article shows why retailers are expecting delays and inventory shortages, how the virus is causing international shipping delays, and why eCommerce could see a big uptick as more people turn to online shopping.

Many airlines cut their Mainland China routes by up to 90% in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. These passenger routes also had a lot of belly capacity for commercial cargo and were vital to the global supply chain, but were now down 39% over the previous year. Now, as China's factories being to slowly ramp up production, there's not enough air capacity to get products where they need to go. The result? A huge 27% spike in air freight rates.


March 6, 2020

The shipping industry is going to great lengths to try and maintain open lines amidst the coronavirus. Most countries have now introduced heightened security measure such as border screening, temperature checks, no disembarkation orders, and intense cleaning.

March 3 2020

The new Manufacturing Report on Business issued by the Institute for Supply Management takes a grim view of the impact of the coronavirus on supply chains. It's clear that the complete shutdown of production in China will affect industries around the world, from electronics and cars to food, beverage, and tobacco. While there's almost no notion of what lies ahead, two things are clear - international supply chains will be largely disrupted for a good while, and it's going to take awhile for them to regain their capacity.

Amazon has seen a huge spike in orders through its Prime Now and Amazon Fresh services, which offer delivery of fresh goods, groceries, and daily necessities. The surge has overwhelmed the retailer's delivery capabilities and inventory; the sites now feature warnings about limited product availability and order delays. With fears ramping up in the US over the coronavirus, no doubt the increasing orders is the result of panic-buying.


Feb 25, 2020

With shipping taking a hit due to the coronavirus, this analysis says the intra-Asian trade will take the biggest hit in the first quarter, while the impact will also be felt by other trade routes that rely on Chinese manufacturing. The hope is that factory production and port operations around Wuhan resume capacity as soon as possible in order to minimize the impact on long haul container shipping beyond mid-March.


Feb 25, 2020

With shipping taking a hit due to the coronavirus, this analysis says the intra-Asian trade will take the biggest hit in the first quarter, while the impact will also be felt by other trade routes that rely on Chinese manufacturing. The hope is that factory production and port operations around Wuhan resume capacity as soon as possible in order to minimize the impact on long haul container shipping beyond mid-March.

Feb 24, 2020

Air New Zealand has already axed its China and Hong Kong routes, but after a jump in coronavirus infections in South Korea, the airline has now also suspended flights to Seoul. In total, the carrier will reduce its total Asia capacity by 17% through June in response to a drop in demand and contagion fears.


Feb 23, 2020

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) is a standard indicator of the daily price of moving goods - like wheat - around the world by sea freight. Now, it's dropped to its lowest point since 2016, a strong indicator of the virus's impact on shipping.

The global economy is taking a hit because of the coronavirus - but no one knows just how bac the effects are going to be. What we can see now, though, is that China's experiencing a major manufacturing slowdown (and as a consequence, creating backlogs in freight) while airlines expect a $32.9bn loss in revenues, including from commercial cargo.


Feb 21, 2020

US business activity is already experiencing a slowdown because of the coronavirus. The US composite output index, a measure of the services and manufacturing sectors, fell from 53.3 in January to 49.6 in February, its lowest since October 2013. The contraction has also hit the American freight industries as carriers implement protective measures on China routes.


Feb 20, 2020

Australian national carrier Qantas - and subsidiary Jetstar Australia - have cut flights to Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Singapore through May due to low demand. The cuts of 16% capacity for Qantas and 14% for Jetstar are set to create losses of up to $150 million for the airlines. The cuts are set to impact the carrier's belly capacity for commercial cargo in APAC.

Maersk, the world's largest shipping company, has canceled more than 50 sailings to and from Asia since the outbreak of the virus, and expects to see rates rise as demand continues to fall with China's factories operating at 50%-60% capacity. Although the company is hopeful that the situation will improve as Chinese factory production ramps up in March, it still predicts a 5% drop in estimated earnings.


Feb 18, 2020

Singapore Airlines and subsidiary Silk Air have reduced flights to Frankfurt, New York, Tokyo, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Paris, Seoul, and Sydney through May, citing low demand due to the virus outbreak. SQ had already cut flights to Hong Kong and Mainland China. The cuts could see the airlines' capacity for commercial cargo significantly lessened through the spring.

British carmaker Jaguar has had its supply chain significantly affected as its car parts being produced in China are unable to get to its factories in the UK. As a stopgap, the luxury carmaker is flying car parts from China "in suitcases" to maintain production in the UK, but says it could run out of supplies by mid-March. US tech giant Apple says its iPhone supply will also be affected by disrupted shipping channels.

Spot rates in container shipping have dropped - despite an increase of up to 25% in blank sailings - as carrier fight to maintain operations and revenue in the face of the coronavirus. Blank sailings have increased so heavily week over week that 3.7% of sea freight capacity is now unemployed.


Feb 14, 2020

Citing "challenges" with its logistics chain, Deutsche Post has temporarily paused sending packages to China, Hong Kong and Macau. Along with DHL, the German national postal service has also suspended collection, delivery, and warehousing in Hubei province, which will affect commercial shipments.


Feb 11, 2020

The coronavirus has hit global postal flows as national post offices around the world - including USPS and Singapore Post - cut mail routes to China, citing low transport capacity. China Post is also disinfecting postal offices, processing centers, and vehicles to reduce the virus spread, resulting in significant delays in personal and commercial mail.


Feb 8, 2020

China has demanded that couriers in the country get back to work and regain 40% of normal handling capacity. The announcement is particularly aimed at local carriers that delivery daily necessities and supplies to residents in Wuhan and other virus-hit regions in the country, such as ZTO Express, YTO Express, and Deppon Express.