In view of the rapid increase in coronavirus infections worldwide, a. hartrodt has taken precautions to remain operative. "In order to minimize the risk of infection for our employees, we refrain from business trips, visits between different offices and meetings until further notice," informs Thorsten Drunagel, Managing Director at a. hartrodt in Hamburg. Employees returning from danger zones in Asia or Italy have to stay at home for two weeks. "In case of an emergency, 60 percent of our staff can work from their home office," says Drunagel.
Air freight: charter or rail as an alternative
Massive disruptions are now occurring not only in China exports and imports. After most airlines have cancelled passenger flights to and from China, airfreight capacities continue to shrink. More and more airlines are now suspending international connections, for example Lufthansa to Israel or Korean Air Frankfurt-Incheon. Alternatively, a. hartrodt uses split charter flights together with other companies or offers full charter flights. From China, a. hartrodt is currently recording a 20 percent increase in demand for rail freight.
Sea freight: lack of containers and ship capacity
Sea freight is also becoming increasingly difficult to organise and Drunagel is expecting massive disruptions well into April. "The first thing that will happen is that the inland terminals will be empty," he observes. Apart from in the seaports, containers are only available in depots in the far surrounding area. As a result, round trips will become longer and the lack of equipment will have an impact on all trade lanes. This is where a. hartrodt can take counter measures by leasing or buying containers for customers (shippers owned containers). At the same time, space on container ships is becoming increasingly tight. Drunagel expects more blank sailings because carriers are cancelling vessel departures.
Despite the worldwide exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus, a. hartrodt can offer solutions. "We have blocked capacities for air, sea and rail freight," says Drunagel. However, customers have to take into account an increase of costs, for example due to peak season surcharges from carriers and airlines.