Coronavirus: Shipping and Supermarket supply chain

The general consensus in the Shipping community is that Chinese manufacturers and ports are log jammed due to a lack of available inland haulage because of the corona virus restrictions in place. The NY Times reported recently; “As Beijing tries to jump-start an economy hobbled by its coronavirus epidemic, one of the biggest obstacles lies in the country’s half-paralyzed logistics industry. China has some of the world’s biggest and newest seaports and airports, but using them has become a lot harder because of roadblocks, quarantines and factory closings. Global shipping has been one of the biggest casualties. More tonnage of container ships is idled around the world now than during the global financial crisis, according to Alphaliner, a shipping data service.” Meaning, the UK and rest of the world might experience shortages of goods on the shelves due to these delays.  Our advice if you have containers in any EU transit ports is to get an updated status on movements to ensure your logistics continuity.

Meanwhile, this disruption to supply chains from Covid19 has already thought to have cost European retailers 3.2bn euros in missed sales, LinkedIn reports. However, online grocer Ocado are recording high demand with more customers placing orders, as well as high street food retailer Iceland who have seen a massive jump in customer’s stocking up on frozen goods.

It would seem that although the public are being told to ‘keep calm and carry on’, they’re intent on stock piling. UK supermarkets have this week assured the government they are working with their suppliers to safe guard stocks via their Feed the Nation contingency plans designed to cope with panic buying. It’s thought that in this plan, suppliers would scale back the diverse variety of products they produce and focus instead on maintaining production and distribution of core and staple products.

Sources: The Guardian, LinkedIn and NY Times, articles 01 – 04 March 2020