Our February 19th blog listed a number of mobility issues likely to arise as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Since then, the World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic. Aside from the isolation requirements for the vulnerable, healthy people are told to stay home as much as possible and to practice social distancing. Moreover, the borders of most countries have been restricted, including most recently, the Canada/U.S. border. What does all this mean for companies with mobility requirements?
During this challenging period, we are committed to sharing mobility-related information and developments that can help organizations navigate the unchartered direction their programs may or must take as a result of this crisis.
In this latest update, we share results of a recent survey as well as some insight on how the moving and shipping industry is adapting.
We conducted a survey in late February, and though the situation in Canada and around the world has evolved significantly since then, we would like to share some of the results
– Many participants indicated that the coronavirus had had an effect on their business travel and relocations, though for most, not in significant ways to date.
– For those with relocations in progress, a few had experienced reluctance by employees to proceed, as well as immigration, temporary housing and shipment problems. Many, however, acknowledged that these issues would increase in number and would have to be addressed in the future.
– Very few had yet seen any significant increases in mobility costs or were making any changes to their programs.
The global experience is very different than it was in late February. We invite you to let us know how your organization is coping and adapting.
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– Movers are still in operation but taking measures necessary for enhanced hygiene and social distancing purposes, as well as to monitor of the health of their employees.
– Moving companies are experiencing a significant decrease in business with customers delaying or cancelling relocations. Expect to have to make adjustments as layoffs and reduced capacity are likely to occur.
– Moving estimates are being conducted through telephone and video conferencing.
On the international/cross-border front:
– Border closures do not typically affect the shipment of goods. The Canada-US border allows the transport of goods, including household goods.
– With respect to sea shipments:
* Ports are still operating but loading and unloading might be affected because of trucking and possible rail slowdowns.
* The large shipping lines have forecasted reduced frequency.
– The various country customs/border control offices are still operating and clearing shipments, but it is reasonable to expect delays as some countries might reduce staffing.
– Because of uncertainties around travel, it is recommended that shipments be split with one part (non-essential items) to be shipped by sea as planned, and the other by air in order to remain accessible by the transferee.
– In the case that a shipment is delayed, and it is not the result of the transferee (container not available, mover not working, customs clearance not available) the mover will advise the marine insurer to determine the arrangements and costs they are to assume.
– If a shipment arrives at customs and the employee cannot travel to accept it, the shipment will be placed in bond. Handling, storage and redelivery charges will apply separately. These charges are a factor of shipment size, but as an example, a shipment of a thousand pounds in storage for one month would be an additional cost of about $2,000.
We will make every effort to send regular updates. Do not hesitate to tell us about your experiences (good or bad) and/or some of your concerns. We will gladly prepare a blog to share relevant information and thoughts on these matters.