Back in February, we released a blog post discussing the impact of COVID on cross-border trade: Covid’s Impact on International Shipping – GlobalPost International. In this new post, we will provide an update on the current conditions of cross-border trade now that vaccinations have begun around the world.
Even with the global rollout of immunizations, COVID conditions are continually shifting. Countries are adjusting their lockdown rules to minimize the impact of the pandemic while attempting to avoid a 3rd wave of cases. Export air transport continues to be difficult, especially in regions where airlines have cut back on passenger flights, with some nations only permitting their citizens to enter. Occasionally this can lead to longer export times. Delivery times are still affected by the differing lockdown levels and curfews globally.
With the overall surge in online shopping as consumers work from home, the increased social distancing measures, and postal staff absences, postal operators around the globe are warning merchants and consumers that delays should be expected. And several posts are not requiring physical signatures upon delivery as a safety measure.
There are different levels of partial lockdown within the EU. Most countries have shut down leisure outlets, but shops remain open. EU countries that offer deliveries to parcel lockers or pick up/drop off points face problems when those service locations are found within temporarily closed businesses, causing additional delays.
The airline industry has been severely impacted by the pandemic. Global aviation reported high level of loss, with 2020 revenues down 60% and all indicators pointing to challenging results for years to come. Airline companies may not see their traffic numbers go back to pre-pandemic levels before the end of 2024. Not only has the financial side been affected, but we are starting to see more potential long-term effects on the industry such as with hygiene and safety standards. With mobile apps being used to store travelers’ vaccine certificates and COVID-19 test results, we are seeing how digitization is transforming the travel experience.
India’s Covid Surge
India’s new wave of COVID infections hit the global shipping industry hard. Countries around the world rely on India for sailors. Crews have come down with the disease and as a consequence some ports in China, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates have denied entry to vessels with crew members who recently visited India. India-based companies are now insisting on vaccinated workers and seafarers, but with a shortage of vaccines in the country many ship workers are struggling to find work. Several companies are temporarily hiring seafarers from other nations, and many workers from Indonesia and China have been asked to fill in the gaps.
The United States Postal Service has added Israel to the latest list of countries with suspended service. The Postal Service suspended international mail acceptance to destinations where transportation is unavailable due to widespread cancellations and restrictions into the area, and as a result customers are asked to refrain from mailing items to Israel. This service disruption ipmacts Priority Mail Express International® (PMEI), Priority Mail International® (PMI), First-Class Mail International® (FCMI), First-Class Package International Service® (FCPIS®), International Priority Airmail® (IPA®), International Surface Air Lift® (ISAL®), and M-Bag® items.
The USPS has also notified customers shipping to Columbia to expect delays, despite the country’s assurance that, as an essential service, their postal service is exempt from restrictions on movement. The multiple protests throughout the nation since April 28th are presenting challenges in terms of mail collection and delivery, with road closures and vandalism acts requiring protection of employees and postal infrastructure.
The USPS has resumed acceptance of mail destined to Bermuda, Mauritius, and Chad. This service resumption affects the following mail classes: Priority Mail Express International® (PMEI), Priority Mail International® (PMI), First-Class Mail International® (FCMI), First-Class Package International Service® (FCPIS®), International Priority Airmail® (IPA®), International Surface Air Lift® (ISAL®), and M-Bag® items.
To get the latest status update on all international carriers operations, please visit our Service Updates page.