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How is COVID-19 Affecting your Business? And an EFSA Survey

Minister Fikile Mbalula has taken note of the concerns raised by the industry of limiting the movement of cargo only to essential goods.  According to the Ministry, the matter has now been resolved and all cargo, regardless of whether essential or non-essential status, will be allowed passage. Unfortunately, the process is not so simple.  EFSA learns that there have been major challenges to collect cargo from the airlines or obtain release from shipping lines or get lorries through land-frontiers.  Many roadblocks are present in and around the airports, the airline handling agents and seaports, and some officials have instructed truck drivers to return to their base empty-handed if they cannot prove that they are collecting essential supplies.  Airline handling agents, customs officials and ocean carriers aralso interpreting the instructions differently, and as a result couriers and other logistics companies are faced with mixed feedback and proceduresThis is also affecting the collection of some essential supplies, such as medical materials and foodstuffs. Note – this only relates to cargo which will be delivered to warehouses to await the end of the lockdown, it does not permit the delivery of non-essential goods to the home.

EFSA is doing a small survey on the effects of the lockdowns and disruption of global trade. Most companies I have spoken to in SA, Kenya and Nigeria report interruptions to supplies out of China in February but that supplies are now flowing again, however that bans on the purchase and delivery of “non-essential” goods in the SA lockdown is causing havoc (as above). Do you have views? Case studies to report? Let me know at [email protected]  We can then inform the Ministries and hopefully assist in smoothing the situation.

There is also a debate on ecomconnet (, the new International Trade Centre (a WTO/UNCTAD body) information source on ecommerce.

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Alastair Tempest

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