Having just come through a full weekend lockdown, Maharashtra state (location of the major port of Nava Sheva) government imposed lockdown-like curbs, including curfews, in the state from 8pm on 14th April for the next 15 days for everything but essential services, which includes transport, supply chain and customs operations, with Bangladesh entering a week long shut and lock down from today.
Maharashtra is the second-most populous and the most industrialised state in India and the state capital, Mumbai, is India’s financial and commercial hub.
Localised lockdowns, restrictions, and night curfews imposed by some states to stem the recent spike in covid-19 cases could cause supply chain disruptions and companies fear that a mass exodus, could trigger a shortage of workers at factories, disrupt production schedules and derail their revival.
Container terminals, container freight stations and other supply chain infrastructure are reporting a shortage of staff, as migrant workers return home fearing another strict lockdown and Unions are not permitting the use of replacement part time labourers.
In addition, the Suez Canal episode is pushing carriers to request earlier cut-offs as they see a potential risk of inventory shortages in the near future, in addition to the shortage of labour resources on the quay side.
Due to these challenges, shipping lines want to ensure that the containers are gated in and loaded well in advance which, coupled with shortage of staff, means there is a high probability of terminals and ports closing earlier than the usual cut-off. This is on top of the already turbulent situation caused by the fall out of the Suez episode and the delays and congestion caused with vessels arriving off of schedule.
Shippers should note that this means we will not have the flexibility to extend cut-off times during this time, and that until further notice, we will be advancing the established process by 48 hours from the existing cut-off schedule. If you have forthcoming shipments that may be affected, your account manager will contact you directly to explain how this will work in practice.
Although Bangladesh has entered a week-long lockdown, with malls, offices, public transport and commercial flights being completely suspended, cargo flights, garment factories and manufacturers will be allowed to continue to function after a u-turn by the authorities, as these were also due to be closed.
Business groups have been lobbying for factories to stay open given the harsh conditions faced by migrant workers in April last year as the sudden lockdown left many stranded, as well as the additional loss of business and orders that would ensue as a result.
The ecosystem of handling lockdowns in both India and Bangladesh has increased over the last year and businesses have developed improved inventory management practices and accelerated automation in handling supply chain logistics amid a restricted environment.
However, the cost of local and regional transportation is bound to rise, which has already been under pressure due to high fuel costs, underlining the need to work with supply chain providers based on their ability to adapt to changing and challenging circumstances rather than cost alone.
Metro’s network and expertise extends across the Indian subcontinent, with many customers sourcing from and exporting to the region, including leading brands and manufacturers, who have established, and expanding, verticals in many countries.
We continue to monitor the situation and lockdowns’ global impact on the supply chain and global trade and we will update you on developments as they occur, throughout the worlds economies, that may have an impact on your own business platforms.
If you are currently exporting to, or importing from any Asian subregion – or are thinking of developing these regions – please speak to Grant Liddell, who will be delighted to offer assistance, guidance and recommendations on the best solutions for the movement of your goods and associated supply chain issues.