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  • Writer's pictureStephen Fodor

IMPORT: China Opens Amid Scare Feb. 10, 2020

Updated: Feb 17, 2020

We received this “unofficial” update from a partner in China that has contacts in many parts of the country. The underlying message is this; things are much different than we’ve face in the industry in the past and importers should stay in close contact with their suppliers and freight agents to find out the latest regarding their shipments.

Although China “officially” resumed work today after a government imposed extended Lunar New Year holiday, many cities and provinces are not back to work. Most cities remain ghost towns. Many companies have employees working remotely that can do so. Obviously this isn’t an option for your product being manufactured in mills and factories throughout the country. We know some provinces and regions have asked the companies not to reopen until next Monday 2/17. Other regions have asked companies not to resume operations until March 1st. Nothing official from the Chinese National government but requests have been made on a regional level.

Factories that we have spoken with are reporting the same as others throughout China. Some of the issues are...not sure when their employees will return. Not sure the procedure for employees to return and how to check for virus symptoms of returning employees. Having enough masks and other equipment available to prevent the spread of the virus at their facilities. This is a factory by factory, region by region issue and best to check with each of your suppliers independently for their restart schedule and manpower availability.

Ports are open. Carriers issued additional blank sailings from China loading ports last week since there was no demand but vessels are scheduled and departing. There are many reports of not yet having trucking capabilities and manpower to arrange containers from factories to ports. This should improve on a daily basis. Flight options also remain for any air freight shipment that are ready or become ready. There are no issues with quarantine of ocean or air shipments arriving to the US ports. Currently crew from China ports of call are asked to stay on the vessel while at port but this is standard.

In recent years Chinese factories reported an average of 20-25% of workers not returning after the holiday. This year there are estimates of that figure closer to 40%. Once factories do reopen and start producing there will most likely be a delay until production is at 100%.

Importers are urged to communicate with their suppliers and freight agents to stay on top of the latest for their particular products.

We will share further details once more is known.

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