Is the coronavirus causing supply issues with Chinese products?
While there is little evidence that the virus can survive on objects such as packaging, travel restrictions could affect the ability to not only move goods around but also with getting the labor force needed to produce products to manufacturing facilities — though it’s not immediately clear if this will happen.
Meanwhile, commercial carriers such as FedEx and UPS are still shipping to and from the country, but these shipments could always be subject to delays, which could vary based on the country they are entering or leaving (and, it’s worth noting, such delays are always possible with international shipping).
Large stock shipments that come over ocean freight, meanwhile, could also be affected by increased oversight and inspections or manufacturing delays. At this point, no ports have been closed.
It’s also worth noting that China is wrapping up its Lunar New Year celebrations — which typically result in most workplaces shutting down anyway.
The Chinese government extended the holiday to Feb. 2, 2020 to help prevent the spread of the illness, so these added closures could also affect shipping and manufacturing.
It’s also possible that global supply chains and shipping could experience a ripple effect from logistical issues originating in China given how much is produced there.
Wuhan, which is the primary outbreak site, is not an ocean port, but does have a river port and has manufacturing facilities nearby. There is also some data that suggests companies may be using alternatives to Wuhan’s port.
Many affected suppliers are notifying customers who have items made in China and automatically canceling these orders, but it is likely up to store owners to notify customers.
However, any ecommerce store owner who sources products from China should start checking into if their products could be held up — including in the weeks to come if the crisis does not stop. This is especially true for drop shippers that use Chinese suppliers.
If you’re not sure if your products are made in China or will otherwise be affected by the restrictions in the region, it’s always a good idea to double check. Also keep in mind that if your product is made in one country but uses parts from China, there could be delays or restrictions.