"coronavirus" - Update 11 / Global impacts and more

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) provide the following update for members / industry on the coronavirus situation.

Following Monday's update I managed to speak to a number of forwarders and customs brokers, noting that the impacts of the coronavirus situation are bringing many to the realisation that this is going to be a longer term return to normal business than maybe originally thought. 

The slower than normal return to work from Chinese New Year in many areas that provide not only fully manufactured goods but also parts for production needs in other parts of the world is having a large downstream effect on production jobs and supply of goods in those countries and their international markets. Impacts are also being felt with shipping lines as they continue to update customers with adjusted / blank sailing schedules and general information.

Given the unpredictability of the Coronavirus event and fluid nature of both its development and the associated response, the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) has met a request from the Registrar of Shipping to waive the need for 30 days' notice to be provided to shippers informing them of associated blank sailings, as required by section 10.41(2) within Part X of the Competition and Consumer Act.


The impact at the border, especially officers in the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department) is starting to show as the coronavirus puts unexpected and significant pressure on their resourcing.

We are also being told by members that issues are starting to arise with not being able to get adequate & and timely (border and biosecurity) paperwork, from their overseas agents / shippers to perform clearances. Please note if you find yourselves in this position please reach out to the department and FTA so that all efforts can be explored to facilitate clearances.

Please note below some commentary in an update from the Global Shippers Forum (GSF) of which FTA (Paul Zalai), as the secretariat for the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA), is on the board of directors.  

The week the Coronavirus outbreak began to seriously impact global supply chains … 
A lack of labour in Chinese businesses generally is severely disrupting manufacturing in China and buyers are urgently seeking alternative supplies, placing even greater stresses on supply chains and logistics services. GSF has written to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Shipping Council (WSC) asking and encouraging them to provide disruption information.  In the meantime, here are the links to those (very few) shipping lines who have set-up dedicated customer advisory pages on Coronavirus disruption:

A high-level summary of world port restrictions has been compiled by Wilhelmsen.

How much … ? As if the blank sailings and other disruptions aren't costing shippers enough, Maersk has advised customers they will be imposing a $1000 surcharge on refrigerated boxes arriving at Shanghai and Xingang from 7th February due to a shortage of plug points in those ports. That's a third of the freight cost from Rotterdam! 

We have put together some links below that provide a more global view of what is happening along with the latest shipping notificationsFURTHER INFORMATION

FTA suggest members / industry maintain close relations with their forwarders , agents , shipping lines, suppliers and clients in China to ensure they have the latest information available.

To stay abreast of all developments and general information concerning the Novel Coronavirus we suggest members maintain a watching brief on the Department of Health website 

FTA will continue to monitor issues surrounding the coronavirus and keep members updated as necessary.