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Covid 19, Importing & Small Business – is it all bad news?

Chris Murphy from Tide attends our Essex events. Chris has big ambitions to support local small businesses with his “Ethical” approach to importing. Here Chris shares his own personal views on Covid – 19 and our businesses.

We appreciate the situation is changing very fast with this pandemic and as such wish to confirm these views were shared on Wednesday 11th of March.

As international authorities track COVID-19 through Europe, even the most affected countries such as Italy are reporting incidences of less than 0.02% of the total population with a death rate of just 0.001%.

Of course people must be responsible and vigilant in order to limit the spread of any disease, particularly at this time of year. But amidst the panic one very important part of the jigsaw is being omitted from the information we are receiving through the media. In order to understand the potential consequences of this pandemic in this part of the world should we not be focusing on it’s origin – China?

  • How has the situation been handled there?
  • What has been the effect?
  • And most importantly, what is the situation there now?

I work with China on a daily basis, I talk to colleagues and friends throughout the country constantly. The situation took hold around 6 weeks ago, action was taken and, from where I’m sitting, things now seem to be returning to normal.

Working in the shipping industry you start to notice patterns in global trade. The UK is a consumer economy and by monitoring import volumes from China at the point of departure it is possible to successfully forecast peaks and troughs in British economic fortunes several months ahead of official reports.

February / March is always a slow time for global trade due to the impact of the Chinese New Year holiday, when nothing ships from China for around 2 weeks in late January / early February.

Businesses have learned to factor this in to their plans and forecasts. The Coronavirus situation effectively extended the Chinese New Year holiday period by around 2 weeks this year, since then there has undoubtedly been further delays and disruption but now, as the spread of the virus in China subsides, trade is starting to move again.

After CNY, Tide would normally expect to receive the first stock from China at our warehouse in Essex around mid to late March. As it is, this year we are now expecting shipments to start arriving in mid April.

Sure we’ve got a few tough weeks in front of us but the light at the end of the tunnel is booked on a ship from Ningbo next week!

I fully expect this outlook to be reflected in the wider economy; Coronavirus will be one of those situations that we look back on and learn from.

Take care of yourselves but don’t panic!

Thanks for sharing your view Chris. We are now actively looking to collect your thoughts and fears around Covid 19. In light of this research we are putting together a series of online training opportunities specifically aimed at supporting you through this tough time with international speakers!

This will all be accessible on the Insiders which remains at £5 a month so it is accessible to all.

Complete survey here – feel free to share this survey so we can help more business owners.

Learn more about the Insiders here

  • March 16, 2020