At present, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is over 92,000 worldwide, with cases within the UK on the rise also. As of the past few days, the number of affected individuals increased to 51 – with the government stepping up efforts to combat the virus. Naturally, this data is causing widespread concern, impacting not only the day-to-day routine of millions, but also impacting the way businesses are operating. However, while this is a major concern for multiple companies – and specifically haulage and logistics companies that operate multi-nationally – it is important to approach the issue pragmatically.
There is much we don’t know about the coronavirus, but as we wait for more information there are some things within our control. A large element of this is knowing the precautions we can each take to prevent the spread of the virus, and, fortunately, there are a large number of resources that can help better inform us.
However, it is equally important to consider the precautions that large businesses can take to minimise the damage to our national, and global, economies – while ensuring that our employees and partners are protected. As you would expect, the way in which haulage solutions can perform in the coming months is a major element of this. And what is undoubtedly evident at present is that going forward, businesses should plan for extended transit timings.
The stark rise in coronavirus cases ensures that there will be a knock-on effect on the time it takes for transport services to deliver a product. Now, a root issue in this predicament is that China – which is not only one of the world’s largest economies but is also a huge global supplier of many goods and materials – has been massively affected by the outbreak.
As you would expect, the unfortunate impact of coronavirus is that productivity coming out of the country has been reduced, and extra checks have been (rightly) placed on goods coming out of the country. This means that delivery deadlines are having to be altered in line with affected travel means.
This week alone saw Ryanair and British Airways announce further cancellations to its planned flight schedule over the coming weeks due to decreased bookings and overwhelming concern. This may seem unrelated to the haulage industry, but it’s not. An integral part of transporting products is the utilisation of consumer flights.
Thus, when planning to transport cargo via air travel, large corporations should account for the significant delay. This reasoning can similarly be applied to all sea-transit as cargo bookings have also been low in recent weeks.
However, it’s not just the difficulty in shipping that the industry must consider, but also the lower level of demand. Many shipping firms are suffering from a weak start to the new year with the demand for internationally shipped goods hitting a notable low. In this respect, there is little that large distributors can do except continue to adhere to strict health and safety regulations and circulate well-informed information surrounding the virus. If we want to see demand levels return to where they once were, then the wider public needs to feel more assured about the scale of the issue and the practical ways in which they can handle it.
These precautions hope to minimise the negative effects left in the wake of the coronavirus, however, every industry must be prepared to combat issues as and when they come because this is an ever-changing situation with many moving parts. Large distributors must be prepared to react in real-time as well as make proactive decisions.
At Forest Freight, we have devised comprehensive precautionary measures to ensure that our staff, drivers, and visitors remain safe.
In response to the continuing coronavirus situation the following precautionary measures have been applied:
- Inbound freight drivers must be met by a member of the warehouse team for instruction before entering the site.
- All drivers are not to be allowed into the office area and should report only to the debrief area. All doors must be kept locked. Staff will make sure that when they enter and exit the office they keep the doors locked behind them.
- Sanitiser has been provided to all members of staff.
- Interaction has been restricted where possible.
Additional precautionary measures
- The use of alcohol sanitiser is recommended.
- All paperwork will be requested electronically where possible.
- If staff are due to travel abroad, have recently arrived from abroad or have been in contact with friends who may have been abroad, they are required to notify their line manager.
If you would like to know how coronavirus could affect the logistics of your transit schedules then please contact a member of the Forest Freight team.