Coronavirus and Trade

Thursday 12 March, 2020

 

UPDATE 9 April 

The coronavirus, CCIQ members and the Australian FTAs

The coronavirus pandemic impact on the export shipments of the CCIQ members and customers and sequentially impacts on the utilisation of the Australian FTAs.

For March 2020 there has been an 11% decrease in commodities shipments exported under the FTAs requiring preferential Certificates of Origin.

The most impacted FTAs are Thailand- Australia FTA (TAFTA) and the China Australia FTA (ChAFTA).

On a positive note, in March 20, we can see substantial increase of 26% in Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) export shipments and slight increase of 2% in Korea Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) and the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand (AANZFTA).

Other factors not taken into consideration, it is the very likely the increase is a result of some companies diversifying their export markets portfolio.

 

 

 

Update 1st April 

Positive announcements for exporters today with a COVID-19 Relief and Recovery fund for airfreight for essential agricultural, fisheries and forestry industries and extra $49.8 million into the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG). 

Information on the  COVID-19 Relief and Recovery fund for airfreight for essential agricultural, fisheries and forestry industries can be accessed here.

Details on the additional funding for the (EMDG) include:

  •  Funding for EMDG will increase by $49.8 million in the 2019-20 financial year
  •  This supplements the additional $60 million already committed by the Government and brings EMDG funding to its highest level in more than 20 years at $207.7 million for the 2019-20 financial year.
  • Applications lodged in the 2020-21 financial year can claim expenses even if events have been cancelled due to circumstances beyond a business’s control
  • Any business which has incurred eligible EMDG expenses for promotional activities in 2019-20 financial year will be able to seek reimbursement for 50 per cent of these expenses without the Export Performance Test applying, when they apply from July 1
  • Full details here. 

Update: 31st March 

Snapshot

The below data is in relevance to Certificates of Origin (COOs) issued in March 2020 in comparison with March 2019.

As the COOs are per shipment documents the below figures indicate the decrease in exports for the outlined product categories examples.

Commodity exports to 71 exports markets continue to be significantly impacted by the coronavirus.

Some examples are:

Beef down 16.54%

Beef by-products down 18.28%

Fresh produce down 8.04%

Dairy products down 42.22%

Live animals down  79.82%

Exports to China continue to be severely affected: 

Marine live  down 62.83%

Beef by-products down 38.32%

Fresh produce down 0.58%

Dairy products down 73.17%

Food and beverages down  31.25%

Current Overview

We are starting to see supply chains being halted with many countries enforcing quarantine restrictions forcing factories to shut down or run at minimum capacity.  Given the reduction in cargo shipping lines are increasing blank sailings and not re-routing empty containers which will result in global shortages of equipment (containers).  Clients need to be aware that in the coming months it could take up to 3-4 weeks to book containers so forecasting on shipping and securing equipment is now something that has to be taken into consideration with their planning and logistics procedures.

Travel bans have almost eliminated all air freight capacity as a majority of air freight is carried by passenger flights. With demand remaining and increasing in some commodities, the decrease in supply is forcing prices up. It is expected that some air freight will be routed via airports that are still open but located further away. The increased travel and handling will increase costs. Also, the Australian dollar has been losing value against the US dollar, further increasing costs. All these factors mean that air freight is now becoming very expensive.

Industry Insights
  • Majority of airfreight will shortly move to Sydney/Melbourne and exporters will be required to cover the trucking costs to Sydney to meet whatever flights are still available.
  • Queensland (Brisbane port) initially extended a 14 day isolation period to apply to vessels which have left any country outside Australia.  This has now been withdrawn and will only apply to vessels which have left Mainland China and South Korea. Maersk
  • Airfreight prices are increasing by the day with airlines trying to cover the costs of basic operation since passengers are few and far between and so many flight routes have been cancelled.  Traditionally there has been a healthy oversupply of air capacity from Australia which has created artificially low pricing.  This is no longer the case.
  • We have reports of price increases of up to 5 times the normal rates on AVE’s to the United States. 
  • Dubai are no longer letting passenger flights in, so freighter quotes are currently between 4-5 times normal costs.
  • Indonesia and Vietnam are inaccessible at the moment for airfreight bookings on passenger or freighter lines.
  • There is a weekly freighter service going out of Toowoomba to Hong Kong.  The prices are slightly inflated compared to normal (1.5 times normal cost) but this is still a feasible option for Queensland exporters.
  • Malaysia flights are sporadic and easier to access out of Sydney.
  • We understand that there are packaging shortages due to closures of factories in China and Australian companies are having to look locally to fill supply chains increasing their margins and costs.       
 Tips for Exporters
  • We are receiving reports of goods being refused entry at destination ports (for sea-freight shipments).  We highly recommend that exporters talk to their Australian freight forwarding company and have them confirm with their offshore agent whether there are any port closures or issues before booking containers to that destination to avoid goods being refused and re-routed back to origin.
  • There are still shortages of reefer equipment and plugs.  Bookings need to be made well in advance to access equipment and secure slots and plugs.
  • Due to blank sailings and shipping lines not re-routing empty containers, there will equipment shortages (containers) in the coming months.  Ensure you are allowing 3-4 weeks minimum to book empties and factoring this into your turnaround times. 
  • Check all rates prior to booking or accepting International export orders.  Prices and availability for airfreight and sea freight are unreliable and unpredictable (as mentioned with pricing being anything from 1.5 to 5 times usual rates) and the lack of space or access to certain markets. 

 The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has highlighted the importance of airfreight during pandemic. The IATA is appealing to governments to:

  • Exclude air cargo operations from travel restrictions
  • Implement standardised measures globally to reduce disruptions
  • Exempt air cargo crew members, who do not interact with the public, from 14-day quarantine requirements;
  • Support temporary traffic rights for cargo operations where restrictions may apply;
  • Remove charges such overfly charges, parking fees, and slot restrictions to support air cargo operations during these unprecedented times.

  

Port and Airport Closures

Note:  This is not definitive.  Check with your freight forwarder and customs at the destination to confirm closures PRIOR to booking freight.

 

Belize

Belize has closed most of its ports of entry, but its Santa Elena Border and Philip Goldson International Airport remain open, according to the country's Ministry of Health. Cargo vessels may continue to use all ports of entry.

 

Cameroon

On March 17, the government said it shut down land, air and sea borders indefinitely, starting from March 18. All international flights were suspended, except for cargo planes, until April 17.

 

Canada

On March 18, the US and Canada said they were closing their border to all non-essential traffic. Trade is not affected, the countries' leaders said.

 

Colombia

Colombia announced that from March 16, all land, air and sea borders will remain shut until May 30. This includes its border with Venezuela where thousands of migrants and refugees cross daily.

 

Congo (Republic)

The Republic of the Congo has closed its borders and all airports.

 

Dominica

All flights are suspended.

 

Egypt

Egypt will suspend all air traffic at its airports from March 19 until March 31, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on March 16.

 

Honduras

Honduras has ordered all borders closed except for cargo.

 

Iraq

The Iraqi government said it will extend a countrywide lockdown it imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic until April 11. All airports are closed.

 

Kuwait

Authorities banned all commercial passenger flights to and from Kuwait from March 13.

 

Mali

Mali will indefinitely suspend flights from countries affected by the virus starting on March 19, except for cargo flights.

 

Saudi Arabia

On March 15, Saudi Arabia suspended all international flights for two weeks.

 

Serbia

On March 19, Serbia closed its airport and said it would shut all road and rail borders other than to freight traffic, as well as halt all internal passenger transport, in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.

 

Slovakia

Slovakia banned international passenger travel on March 12 but the border remained open for freight.

 

Somalia

Somalia has banned all international flights.

 

South Africa

South African Airways announced on March 20 it would suspend international flights until May 31.

 

Seychelles

The international airport in Seychelles is closed to all international flights.

 

Uganda

Uganda suspended all passenger planes in and out of the country starting from March 22. Cargo planes will be exempted.

  

Queensland Coronavirus Response

 Federal Response

  

Please make use of these options for free direct advice:

  • Queensland Government Economic Relief  - 1300 654 687
  • Employer Assistance (HR) Helpline (CCIQ)  - 1300 731 988  
  • Tax and Business Performance Advice (BDO)  – 07 3237 5999  

 

 

Update: 12th March 

Queensland’s exports to China continue to be impacted by the coronavirus.  Certificates of Origin (COO) which are issued per shipment, continue to be at dramatically lower levels when compared to the same time period last year (a snapshot is below). 


Copy of Copy of Black and Yellow Emergency Response Poster 2

 

 

 

The below information is sourced from our network of exporters, freight and logistics providers. CCIQ's international trade advisors are available to help, if you need assistance or information please call 1300 731 988

Reefer Containers

 

Exporters requiring reefer equipment (refrigerated containers) will be experiencing a number of problems as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19).  The following issues have been reported by our members and industry stakeholders: 

  • All carriers report Chinese port congestion and reefer plug shortages in Shanghai, Tianjin and Ningbo.
  • Plug spaces for reefers on the vessels are over-booked. 
  • Shipping lines are unable to secure the discharge of reefer containers at the designated port if a power source is not available.  As a result, containers are being discharged at intermediate or alternative ports and being held there until it is possible to forward them to the designated port of discharge. 
  • In cases where the situation remains unchanged shipping lines are evoking clause 19 of the Bill of Lading and Sea Waybill Terms and conditions and can abandon the voyage and advise exporters where their container(s) can be collected. 
  • Shipping lines can charge the exporter additional freight and costs including (but not limited to) storage, demurrage and plugging fees.  Delays will result and shipping lines accept no liability for these delays.  
  • The shortage of space at terminals in Northern China is still preventing refrigerated cargo from being fully discharged or customers are being requested to take container directly from the vessel.
  • In Korea, Busan port is not accepting refrigerated cargo for storage or transhipment if the destination is China.
  • In Queensland, there is limited reefer stock available and limited reefer plugs at Stevedore Terminals to power export lodged reefers.
  • One exporter has reported that they have been getting the push-back to delay port delivery of containers bound for China.  Given that they are regionally based they are forced to make each truck trip count; so, for every full container that gets delivered to port, they arrange to collect an empty simultaneously to bring back and re-pack.  The supply of empty reefers is critical to turn around shipments and reefer shortages will impede shipments to any of the export markets they supply (not just China). 

  

Container Availability and Disruptions to Sailing Schedules

  • Shipping carriers have announced blank sailings to counter the resulting cargo supply/demand imbalances. A blank sailing (a void sailing) is a sailing that has been cancelled by the carrier.
  • Due to the effects of the coronavirus, many liner service operators are cancelling the call of a vessel at a certain port; regions or the entire leg. So many ports, regions or routes will not have a vessel to discharge or load cargo.
  • New cancellations are being announced by the carriers without the usual notice periods.
  • With vessel services being cut; weekly services are looking to extend out as far as monthly services. 
  • Space on the Southern-Asia Loop is only available from mid-April onwards which will affect Southern China, Taiwan and Vietnam shipments.   
  • Shipments to Northern China, South Korea and Japan are affected by blank sailings on the North-Asian Loop.
  • According to Alphaliner’s survey of the Asia and North Europe service; 33 sailings have been cancelled in the last 4 weeks resulting in 46% of the scheduled departures on the route were dropped.  There are indications that another 17 sailings will be blanked in the next 4 weeks.  
  • Return of normal post-Lunar New Year cargo flows are not foreseen until March/April
  • No shortages of containers yet for export in Australia other than normal seasonal issues but it will happen if the level of imports remains low and the exports remain high.
  • The Queensland mandarin season starts in 8 weeks which is a great concern with the equivalent of 4000 TEU’s (20 Foot Reefer Containers) for the season being exported and approx 60% of that volume is destined for the China market.
  • On average 30 flights per week are being cancelled from Brisbane to Hong Kong.  All carriers are expected to implement further cancellations for Hong Kong as well. 

 

Other Reported Issues 

  • Local Chinese governments have restricted truck operations and imposed a 14-day self-quarantine for those crossing city or province boarders, impacting capacity and rates.
  • Cargo coming out of China currently is in low volumes. 
  • Vessels from Europe are full due to lack of vessels on the westabout sailings.
  • Staff who are returning to Australia from overseas are having to wait out the 14-day quarantine period and then get a clearance to re-commence work.  This is slowing down production and creating staff scheduling issues.
  • Packaging inputs from China are being delayed.  Sourcing packaging locally would be very costly for many businesses.
  • The lack of travellers including international students and workers is impacting local industries by creating a domestic shortfall within certain food industry sectors supply chain resulting in an oversupply of some produce.

 

 

 

Update: Friday 21st February 

 

Queensland’s exports are still being heavily impacted due to the coronavirus.  Compared to this time last year, the number of Certificates of Origin (COO) which are issued per shipment, have significantly decreased, especially in the agribusiness sector which has been majorly affected, three examples are below.

export

 

Obtaining clear and precise information continues to be difficult, as the situation is constantly changing and the impact varies by mode of transport, discharge port, trade routes and labour supply.

Information from our industry partners and trade customers shows that there are some improvements; however, the overarching advice is for all exporters to first confirm with their customers on their ability to receive goods.  As an extra precautionary measure, we also recommend checking with your freight forwarder that local ports are able to receive cargo without delays and detention/demurrage charges due to reduced labour supply at ports and permits required by the transport industry.

 Current Updates from our industry from freight and logistics providers:

  • China Sea freight Ports are operating, apart from Wuhan which has suspended load and discharge movements
  • Other ports may be affected due to labour shortages with millions of Chinese citizens being quarantined
  • Ports are also reporting congestion issues especially in Shanghai and Tianjin
  • Loading and discharge has slowed due to a lack of stevedores
  • Land transport of cargo both inbound and outbound from the port is insufficient, as trucks without a local licence are unable to access the port
  • Live export commodities such as seafood are not able to gain China border access.
  • Carriers advised that for any current on water or future ‘Container Australian Export’ bookings for a destination to China to review prior to export as a precaution
  • There are neighbouring countries which still have import bans in place to receive from China as a precaution to stop the virus spreading
  • All major ports across the world have adopted a 14-day quarantine period for vessels arriving from or transiting through China. Vessels arriving from China are required to report regarding the health of the crew members and passengers prior to berthing

 We will continue to liaise with our freight and export clients to update further information as it comes to hand.

This week, an Industry Recovery Package was announced. Full details on the assistance available can be found here. 

CCIQ can provide expert trade advice. If we can assist you please contact us on.: 1300 731 988

 

The Federal Government is collecting data and speaking with businesses affected by the coronavirus to understand implications to their industry and businesses. If your business has been directly impacted by the coronavirus then please contact Austrade:

Advisory Services

Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)

T +61 2 9392 2998

E advisory@austrade.gov.au

W www.austrade.gov.au

 

Go Global Program 

The Queensland Government has since announced the new ‘Go Global’ program to be delivered by Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ). 

This program will help export-ready Queensland businesses launch their products in global markets. Successful applicants will receive micro-grants up to $5,000 and macro-grants up to $25,000. 

The funds are to help companies overcome barriers to exporting when working with a new buyer or in a new market, including:  

  • market-entry requirements such as registration, documentation and compliance costs associated with product testing and redesign, product approvals, trial export programs (logistics), meeting export market requirements, and seeking professional advice on contract negotiation, IP advice, and counterfeit protection,

  • gaining export accreditation such as Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point or Halal accreditation.  

Applications for the first round of Go Global grants are now open and close on 28 February 2020 with further rounds to follow. 

More details on Go Global grants can be found on the Trade and Investment Queensland website at http://www.tiq.qld.gov.au/goglobal 

We will continue to work with all levels of government to provide industry advice and support to provide updates as they become available.  

 

Previous information

The following information comes from our network of exporters and freight companies.  Please note, this information is sourced to help our members gain a better understanding of the current situation.  This information is not statistically based but is a representation of industry sentiment which is changing daily as the situation unfolds.  This information should not be used to influence major business decision-making processes but can provide a basis for further research. 

Industry Insights from Freight and Logistics Providers:  

  • Cathay Pacific and China Airlines have cancelled all China-bound flights from Australia for February

  • Air China cancelled all Australian flights to China until the end of March 2020

  • China Eastern has cancelled all Australian flights to China until October 2020 

  • Singapore Airlines have cut flights to China affecting Beijing, Shanghai, Pudong and Guangzhou 

  • Over 25,000 domestic flights in China have been cancelled for Feb 2020 

  • Exporters utilising Cross Border E-Commerce have requested for China to confirm that the channels will remain open however China has not provided feedback at this stage 

  • Air traffic via Hong Kong has not been affected to date but this is expected to change in the near future 

  • Live product (including Seafood) is experiencing little to no border entry with restaurant precincts and wet markets being shut down 

  • Fresh produce is currently not affected, but there may be border entry restrictions or refusals in store   

  • Retail channels for fresh produce (fruit and vegetables) are still currently open but there are difficulties anticipated for China border entry in the immediate future 

  • All live exports via airfreight to China have been stopped or cancelled 

The below data is in relevance to Certificates of Origin (COOs) issued in March 2020 in comparison with March 2019.

As the COOs are per shipment documents the below figures indicate the decrease in exports for the outlined product categories examples.

 

March  2020 (1- 30 March) : EXPORTS to China under China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA)

Commodities exports to China continue to be significantly impacted by the coronavirus.

Some examples below:

  • drop in Marine live exports to China across the 4 weeks = -62.83%
  • drop in Fresh Produce exports to China across the 4 weeks = -0.58%
  • drop in Beef exports to China across the 4 weeks = -21.14%
  • drop in Beef by products to China across the 4 weeks = -38.32 %
  • drop in  Dairy products to China across the 4 weeks= – 73.17%
  • drop in Food and beverages across 4 weeks = -31.25%

 

March  2020 (1- 30 March) : EXPORTS to 71 export markets

Commodities exports to 71 exports markets continue to be significantly impacted by the coronavirus.

Some examples below:

Drop in Beef export across all export markets =-16.54%

Drop in Beef by-products across all export markets = -18.28%

Drop in Fresh Produce across all export markets = -8.04%

Drop in Dairy products across all export markets = -42.22%

Drop in Live animals across all export markets = -79.82%

 

March  2020 (1- 30 March): EXPORTS MARKETS

  • Significant decreases in export shipments across 71 export markets in comparison with March 2019. Example: top 3 CCIQ members export markets for commodities exports.

 

Top 3

 

% change March 19 vs March 20

1

China

-22.25%

2

Indonesia

-12.22%

3

Vietnam

-12.97%

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