CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19) UPDATE APRIL 10TH
Dear all Valued Customers
We are in the midst of a global pandemic situation affecting us globally, with public health systems and national economies under increasing pressure from the impacts of the virus.
In these exceptional times, the logistics industry plays an important role for society as a whole.
With it comes a responsibility that we take very seriously at BRi
Every day we receive positive feedback from customers whose supply chains we serve under difficult circumstances.
This motivates everyone involved - truck drivers, warehouse workers, sea, air and road freight experts, and management - to continue to deliver on our promises.
We are adapting our response on a daily basis.
Our focus is on protecting the health and safety of our employees and ensuring our customers’ operations continue as smoothly as possible during this difficult period.
We continuously provide our colleagues in sales and operations with in-depth information so that they can support our customers with the most up-to-date and relevant advice.
We will continue to update you as the situation evolves.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to your local BRi representative if you need more information.
HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES AT BR INTERNATIONAL (BRi)
The health and safety of our customers and employees remains our top priority.
All BRi offices have implemented actions according to recommendations from the World Health Organisation, including hygiene awareness, self-declarations and voluntary quarantine.
All our operations and offices have prepared and activated business continuity plans, as COVID-19 is spreading wider and governmental restrictions are getting stricter.
These plans include measures such as segregated shift schedules, working from home, the preparation of secondary locations and more.
In regards to risk of virus on packages and pallets we receive and deliver, we deem the risk low, following WHO statement of "The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low."
BUSINESS CONTINUITY PROGRAM
As a global logistics company, we are facing supply chain disruptions on a regular basis.
We adapt continuously our global standards of business continuity management and test our Business Continuity Plans addressing different crisis scenarios.
They are designed to protect the safety and wellbeing of our employees and to ensure an uninterrupted service for our customers. In respect of the magnitude of the COVID-19 effect, we are executing new and continuous risk assessments, business impact analysis and implementing new measures into our business continuity framework based on alert levels.
The learnings from the activation of business continuity planning (BCPs) in China at the beginning of the crisis have helped us to make changes and improvements in all our BCPs around the world.
All countries have established national response teams in order to either prepare for, or execute activation of these plans.
Where deemed appropriate by our national management teams and where required by governmental decrees, we activate preventive measures and processes, which include temperature control of employees and visitors (within the parameters set by locally applicable laws such as data protection laws), self-declarations, segregated/flexi work arrangements, options to work from home, the sanitisation of our offices and sites, and the provision of essential hygiene products at workplaces.
Standard processes have also been defined in case of staff being infected or exposed to people who are infected.
We are sharing hygienic guidelines with our suppliers to ensure greater awareness within the supply chain.
We have implemented global travel restrictions and external and internal meetings are either conducted as video conferences, or only in the presence of a small number of participants observing social distancing recommendations as issued by public health authorities.
GENERAL SITUATION IN OUR REGIONS
As the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, state and local authorities in the US, Canada and Mexico have called for more stringent steps to be taken for local governments and businesses.
As a result, we have activated further control measures in our business continuity plans.
Despite the challenging environment, all operations continue to function.
South and Central America
Several governments in South and Central America have declared “state of emergency”, establishing, among other measures, the closure of borders.
Others have enacted national quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus
Despite the challenging environment, operations continue to function.
As the virus continues to spread across Europe, we are experiencing several impacts on logistics flows.
Although our European site continues to operate, we do expect some delays with shipments due to increased health and safety measures at various borders.
Russia has extended public holidays until April 30.
The imposed measures include closure of all borders for people movements.
Flow of goods are not impacted.
Business in China has returned to normal.
Lockdown for Wuhan City ended on April 8, with the inter-provincial and domestic road/air transportation re-opened.
China’s production has returned close to normal.
Transport movements, including trucking services, are also returning to normal status.
China export trade starts to feel some impact due to supply chain disruption and the closure of business and manufacturing overseas.
For the rest of Asia Pacific, due to the increasing number of confirmed cases reported, most of the local governments have stepped up their containment controls.
These measures include but are not limited to 14 days self-isolation for travellers, restricted community movement and border controls.
We have enacted additional health and safety measures, and activating our Business Continuity Plans where necessary and required.
Middle East and Africa
As the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, state and local authorities in the Middle East and Africa countries have called for more stringent steps to be taken for local governments and businesses.
IMPACT ON SEA LOGISTICS
While the situation in each country is evolving daily as authorities impose new regulations and restrictions, our local experts are at your full disposal to assist and support you with your specific requirements.
Our sea freight operations are fully functional with minimal impact from having to work remotely.
The main CFS gateways in the US are operating normally but with reduced hours.
Due to decreases in vessel operations some ports or terminals have reduced operating days or hours.
All Port Terminals will prioritise essential products (medical goods) movements over non-essential goods.
However, cargo is still flowing into/in US and Canada.
Central South America
There are currently no major restrictions on sea freight operations.
The ports are operational, but there are delays and congestion in the terminals due to reduced staff, reduced attention hours and local quarantine measures.
Argentina is in national quarantine and only allows essential cargo flows. Vessel operations are normal. The cargo-gate-process is normal with delays, but giving priority to essential cargo (e.g. food, pharma, etc). The ports and CFS work with skeleton staff and can only handle essential shipments accepted by customs authorities.
Bolivia also instructed general quarantine, so delivery from ports is impacted.
In Chile, the government has instructed a mandatory quarantine in Santiago, but sea freight operations are not affected and terminals and ports are working as normal. In Venezuela the ports are working with restricted operations.
Terminal, depot and CFS operations in China are almost back to normal.
The arrival of large bulk carriers in China has returned to normal.
The availability of reefer plugs at terminals in Tianjin, Shanghai and Ningbo improved.
With the surge in the Coronavirus cases outside China, governments across the South East Asia region are stepping up their containment measures.
In the Philippines, Luzon (Manila), Visayas (Cebu) and Mindanao (Davao) had been placed under a state of "enhanced community quarantine". The Port of Manila is operational, but with limited capacity.
The Malaysian and the Indian government had announced lock downs. All non-essential manufacturing, government and private business premises in the countries are not operating during this period. In Malaysia, all essential services, such as ports and transportation companies, continue to run, but with limited operations.
The Terminals across India are facing severe labour shortage and high yard inventories affecting the productivity. Break bulk terminals have claimed Force Majeure. Berth schedules are disrupted in most of the terminals with no buffers. Carriers have announced blank sailings to EUR & MED, Asia, and USA.
In Myanmar customs release is allowed, but non-essential cargo cannot be delivered.
The Vietnam-Cambodia border is closed for container movement by road.
In South Korea, sea freight logistics and overall supply chain remain stable with all trucking, customs clearance and warehousing operating as usual.
Port congestion at Busan has eased since vessels resumed direct calls to Chinese ports.
In New Zealand, ports are starting to become congested with non-essential shipments that cannot be delivered as customers are closed due to the lock-down. However, essential services continue to operate and with it the associated logistics chain. Ports continue to operate.
In the port of Adelaide, Australia, we register a noticeable lack of equipment.
In Sri Lanka, only essential shipments can be loaded and moved with special curfew passes. In the ports, container gate-in is still possible, but within reduced working hours.
In Bangladesh, the government decided lockdown/movement restrictions as well. Ports and CFS' are operational, but with reduced capacity. The Chittagong port is starting to become congested.
In the other countries we see "business as usual" from a ports and carrier perspective, but with delays and equipment and space constraints due to blank sailings. Overall, ports are becoming congested and reefer plugs are hardly available.
With continued blank sailings and the dynamic situation at various borders, impacts on the sea logistics business and barge operations in Europe become noticeable.
The governments of Italy and Spain have decreed to close non-essential factories and commercial activities. Although cargo transportation is still allowed in order to sustain the supply of goods, the delivery might be hindered by closed manufacturing sites and warehouses. The ports are operational with slower gate in / gate out process and delays in customs clearance.
Processes in Italian ports are slower due to reduced working hours.
Middle East and Africa
Ports and terminals are operational with delays due to carriers and customs shorter working hours, preventive measures and reduced capacity.
Reefer plugs become short as reefer containers keep stocking up. Ports, CFS and cargo vessels are still operating, but with precautionary measures.
There is a decrease of volumes visible at all port terminals.
Turkey is facing impacts on imports and exports. Here, vessel sailings, equipment availability and carrier operations are effected here. Mauritius is on lockdown.
Major shippers and consignees start to shut down and all service providers have to work from home in South Africa.
Essential cargo will be allowed at the 8 Sea Ports. The ports will prioritise the movement of essential goods. Cape Town port operations are closed for all wine/beer/spirits.
IMPACT ON AIR LOGISTICS
The travel restriction between 26 countries in Europe and the US, that became effective on March 13, and the EU restrictions effective on March 17 only apply to passenger travel.
The majority of airlines announced a drastic reduction of passenger flights offering limited capacity at market rates.
Since the trade lane between Europe and North America is largely dominated by passenger aircraft, we have seen a severe drop in the available capacity.
In reaction to evolving capacity constraints due to severe cuts in belly capacity, we see an increase in freighter capacity.
In order to contain further virus outbreak, restriction on non-essential activities was put in place in a number of US states and between the US and its Northern (Canadian) and Southern (Mexican) borders.
These measures do not apply to trade flows and all our branches continue to operate with reduced staff or in home office mode.
The rise of cases in Canada and Mexico and EU travel restrictions are also leading to limited available capacity in the market due to the heavy reduction of passenger flights and cancellation of some freighters.
The airfreight operations in Europe continue running.
However, with the majority of flag carriers having closed down their passenger networks, we are again seeing significant capacity constraints to all major markets. Increased congestion at airports and cargo rerouting via European hubs are effecting overall processing time and transit times of shipments.
Overall, freighters are back on schedule and carriers offer additional charters on congested lanes such as Europe to the US.
South Central America
Following border closures and lockdowns of some South American countries and the subsequent drop in demand, carriers are reducing their international operations.
The two main carriers Avianca and LATAM Airlines have drastically reduced passenger capacity.
Argentina reduced imports to essential goods only, which means that every shipment now needs to go through an additional green light procedure before shipping.
The overall operational status of airports, truckers and customs is stable, with most companies operating from home
Middle East and Africa
Capacity constraints are also seen in the Middle East and Africa region with all airlines having suspended/reduced their passenger flights on the routings into the region.
National carriers Etihad Airways and Emirates have suspended all passenger flights as per the UAE government’s directive.
Cargo and emergency evacuation flights are exempt from this suspension and will continue.
In South Africa, the limitation to essential cargo-only transportation has been lifted, and with immediate effect all cargo is allowed to come into the country.
The overall situation with regard to the operational status of airports, truckers and customs clearance in China have returned to normal levels.
Only Wuhan airport remains closed to commercial traffic.
Production recovery is leading to an emerging transportation demand adding pressure on available air freight capacity.
In addition, with effect from March 29, China has further reduced the number of international passenger flights as part of its COVID-19 prevention and control measures.
According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), from March 29, each Chinese airline can only operate one route to any country, with no more than one flight per week.
Each foreign airline can only maintain one route to China, with the number of weekly flights reduced to one.
The Chinese government has introduced a new regulation to support the global pandemic situation more effectively and ensure the orderly export of quality medical supplies.
Shippers need to provide declarations (written or electronic) that they have obtained China's medical device product registration certificates for their export shipment and that the medical supplies are compliant with the quality standards of importing countries (regions).
Pressure on capacity caused by limited passenger flight activity is seen in the majority of South Asia Pacific countries.
Complete lockdown in India has a direct impact on customs and terminal operations, trucking, and available capacity.
In addition to all international passenger flights being suspended until April 14, we see that freighter’s capacity out of India is also reducing.
With the majority of carriers closing down or making large cuts in their passenger networks, we see acute shortage of lift on all trade lanes.
In order to compensate for belly capacity shortages, freighter capacity has significantly increased; however, at the moment, this increase is not sufficient to offset a strong drop in global belly capacity.
We are working closely with our long-term carrier partners to have full transparency of the situation to address the needs and requirements of our customers.
At this point in time, we can no longer assure lead times at their applicable rates. To the extent available, charter space will be offered at current market rates.
Our Airfreight teams are fully informed about the latest development of this constantly evolving situation, and we encourage you to reach out to your respective BRi contact person for any further questions and any specific requirements regarding your airfreight shipments.
ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR SHIPMENTS
We remain committed to serving our valued customers.
Besides working closely with carrier partners to provide solutions for urgent shipments, we have also activated alternative transport modes and route solutions to support your business needs.
Working closely with our key airline partners, our airfreight experts maintain regular space allocations on major Asian and Transatlantic routes and have established additional weekly charter rotations to service both markets for urgent supply needs.
A weekly fixed operating schedule and new charter movements on high demand trade lanes will help to avoid production and supply chain delays, and ensure the continuation of your operations caused by present and future implications of the Coronavirus“ outbreak.
The impact of COVID-19 poses particular challenges for critical logistics needs in the healthcare, aviation or manufacturing industries.
To expedite your deliveries, resolve transport delays and ensure the continuation of supply chain flows BRi is dedicated to offer you the time-critical solutions you need.
Despite global travel restrictions, countries` lockdowns and severe capacity constraints on all trade lanes, our expert teams are committed to support you.
Do you have an urgent shipment? Contact your assigned BRi representative or respond to this email so we can assist you NOW!
BRi Air-Sea service, a combination of sea freight and air freight transport modes, helps to expedite your deliveries and ease capacity constraints whenever possible.
Learn how BRi Sea-Air services can ensure the continuation of your operations.
Even though most borders in all affected countries are open for transport of goods, all shipments need special attention regarding export and import documentation.
Our customs clearance services are available and fully operational in all major regions.
Customs authorities in all major regions are fully operational as well, although some ports may have delays due to reduced staffing potentially affecting inspections and other manual clearance processes.
As a valued customer, I hope that you will continue to trust us to source the best options for your supply chain needs now and into the future. Please feel free to contact your Customer Solutions Representative, should you have any queries or concerns.
Keeping you updated,
BRi Customer Solutions Team.
Back to News Page