How coronavirus continues to affect shipping, manufacturing

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With the outbreak of the Coronavirus continuing to spread in China and worldwide, shipments to and from the country are still being affected — but it’s not exactly clear cut.

While most major carriers are still delivering packages to China and nearby Hong Kong, many are extending delivery timeframes and removing guaranteed delivery by certain dates.

Chinese officials had extended the Chinese New Year holiday, which typically leads to a widespread shuttering of businesses, to Feb. 10, 2020 but that has since been lifted nationwide.

However, some individual regions (typically those hit hard by the outbreak) were subject to longer stoppages or have not resumed allowing full business operations.

Most carriers appear to be advising customers to contact their account rep or customer service for specific information about shipping to or from China or Hong Kong rather than making broad statements or service advisories.

UPS, FedEx and USPS (as well as most other major carriers) have service alert pages that contain general information about this and other service interruptions, but the information is often complex, vague or changing frequently.

Carriers are seeing delays on delivery and pick up of small packages as well as freight, air cargo and ground cargo deliveries and shipments in select regions.

Most carriers are also noting that deliveries are always subject to local law enforcement restrictions, which may vary greatly even within the same region and change at any time.

In addition, many carriers are also seeing delays shipping to other countries, namely the Philippines, due to the issues in China operations. In most cases, this is adding additional delivery time to shipments, but deliveries are still being made.

Manufacturing is also continuing to see delays due to workforce issues, though this varies by region and company. Customers are again advised to contact their account representatives for more specific information.