We are now two shipping seasons into COVID, and it remains important for shippers to stay educated about its impact on global trade, especially as we get into peak season, so that they can best manage  expectations with foreign-based customers.

A year and a half into the epidemic, the disruption to global supply systems is worsening, causing consumer product shortages, and increasing the cost of shipping items. For retailers and holiday customers, this is bad news. Shoppers should expect higher costs and fewer options this Holiday season, and some companies such as Adidas, Crocs, and Hasbro have already announced that they anticipate challenges going into Peak season.

To illustrate the dramatic impact of COVID on global operations, let’s look at an incident that took place in China in early August. The country had to shut down a terminal at the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port, the world’s third busiest container port, after a worker tested positive for Covid-19. Not only did this force some major international shipping companies such as Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd to modify their timetables in order to avoid the port (which in turn caused delays), but the impact on operations at China’s other ports was enormous. And while the situation has been contained, and the terminal reopened after a 2-week hiatus, experts still predict that it will take 60 days for activities at the port to resume to normal levels.

This is just one example among many other of the impact of Covid on global trade, and unfortunately many retailers around the world will continue to experience disruptions as they attempt to stock up in preparation for the holiday season. At GlobalPost, we monitor worldwide shipping and postal operations on a daily basis and do our best to provide frequent updates on our Service Updates page. We encourage you to bookmark this page and review it periodically so that you remain aware of any global service disruptions and use this information to manage your customers’ expectations and continue to provide them with a great shopping experience.

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