COVID is infecting us all
COVID is infecting us all in different ways. Any situation, occasion, circumstance, including a pandemic, has further effects. Each being different at every single location. Lenk, your Seafood-Gate to Asia, having its head-office in Bangkok, its European office in Germany, and various offices in numerous Asian countries, would like to update you on the current COVID situation in Asia.
Even though temperatures are high, according to the specialists a condition in which COVID usually doesn’t replicate that quick, the number of people being infected by COVID is increasing day by day and no peak is yet in sight. Unnecessary to say that this has a huge impact on the health, economy, productivity, and supply in and from these countries, especially since new lockdowns are the order of the day.
In Vietnam employees not just have to work, but also have to eat, sleep and thus live at their work location. Leaving their working environment involves major punishments. Companies not being able to meet the above-mentioned restrictions are forced to temporary close their company. Some facts: 80% of the pangasius producers are unable to follow the requirements and thus temporarily shut down their factory. Same for various shrimp producers in the south of Vietnam. Even when producers remain open, production is 40-60% less due to workers’ willingness; lots simply don’t want to work underneath these conditions; not being able to be with their families. Nowadays, 0.4% of the population have had both vaccines.
China is keeping its borders closed until sufficient people have been vaccinated to assure group immunity. The country is also very strict when it gets to customs; all incoming goods are being accurately examined to verify if there is any COVID present. They have currently banned import from more than 50 Indian shrimp exporters since they claimed to have found COVID on the packaging. This obviously results in extreme delays on both in- and outgoing goods.
Thailand another country of supply, is cooping its third wave. Even domestic flights from and between certain high-risk provinces have been suspended. Commuter traffic is sometimes close to impossible. Only 5.2% of the inhabitants are currently vaccinated.
Even though Bangladesh is in a lockdown for 2 weeks, the country is, controversially as it is, allowing an eight-day pause for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha. Millions of Bangladeshis, of which just 2.6% are fully vaccinated, are joining prayers in both outside locations and mosques. Needless to say what this predicts.
A week ago, India seemed to have had the worst behind. Nevertheless, at the time of writing, the number of affected people is increasing again, leaving aside the reliability of the counting. 6.8% of the inhabitants are vaccinated.
Exploding freight rates
Besides the primary (closing factories) and secondary effects (such as the supply of packaging material, less workforce due to people’s anxiety, illness, travel restrictions and required quarantine making it hard to get at the work location), the exploding freight rates are an additional consequence caused by COVID. The rates almost doubled compared to May and it is said that it may even reach up to 20.000 USD/40FCL during 3rd and 4th quarter 2021.
You may understand that producers are currently in a hurry to arrange and follow regulations which includes convincing their workers, coping with less workforce, meanwhile complying with the order confirmations.
Considering the facts of today, including the little amount of people being vaccinated (according to the World Bank some nations may only be fully vaccinated by 2024), taking into account the analysis of the Goldman Sachs Group of 15th July, “predicting that Singapore and Malaysia will reopen this year thanks to the low number of people being infected and the high number of people being vaccinated and other Southeast Asian countries will only reopen by first quarter of 2022”, it is very likely that the situation continues to be at least until the end of this year.
“Today is not a matter of getting the best product for a fair price. Instead, it is about accepting the situation, supporting one another, and hoping for the product to be shipped out soon.”