"We will continue to go through difficult times for a few more months," predicts Claus Wendland, Regional Director South America at a. hartrodt in Santiago de Chile. His almost 210 employees are spread over the hot spots of the Covid-19 pandemic - Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Mexico. Almost all employees are currently working remotely from home. Nevertheless, all offices are open, as original documents are being sent by courier, for example. Masks are compulsory in the open offices. A police clearance certificate is also required for checks on the way to work. The curfew has been extended until mid-September, depending on the country.
Covid-19 cases at a. hartrodt
"So far we have had three Corona cases in Chile in the office, one colleague got oxygen in hospital for a week," reports Wendland. The hygiene requirements for his team include temperature measurements twice a day, compulsory masks, constant disinfection and a virus test every two weeks. Similar measures are in place in North America. Mike Schäfer, Regional Director North America, Canada at a. hartrodt in New York, knows of employees' family members who have been tested positive. But: "There is no legal obligation for employees to report this to their employer," he emphasizes.
Signs of slowdown in air and sea freight
In New York, a. hartrodt operates with skeleton staff. There are other US offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami. In addition to these 36 employees, there are nine more in Toronto (Canada). "Clients don't notice when we work mobile from home," says Schäfer. In North America, contact with customers is generally by e-mail, while shipping companies or truck companies are contacted via internet platforms. According to Schäfer, air freight is currently "still a long way from normal" and there are also signs of a slowdown in sea freight: "Due to the customs problems with China, the import volumes were already reduced earlier, Corona is the icing on the cake." In addition, container deliveries are stagnating because many customers have closed.
In the Corona crisis, a. hartrodt benefits from its powerful global network. For Latin America, Wendland states: "Logistics is working in all respects." However, he does not expect a new normality before September/October.