COVID-19 update #5

The impact of COVID-19 is reaching further and broader, and today almost all our customers around the globe are touched. Even temporary closing of plants impact people’s lives and livelihoods, and our thoughts are with everyone affected.

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The impact of COVID-19 is reaching further and broader, and today almost all our customers around the globe are touched. Even temporary closing of plants impact people’s lives and livelihoods, and our thoughts are with everyone affected.

Unfortunately, we have a two-speed world, where even as matters improve in China and South Korea, Europe and North America particularly experience rapidly climbing rates of infection. As a result, we are now experiencing more substantial disruption in the supply chain as parts shortages appear, factories close down, terminals are increasingly congested, and stevedore and labour availability is reduced in ports and processing facilities.

This decrease in volumes has a direct impact on our operations. In response to plant closures or mandatory government shutdowns several of our vehicle processing centres in the US and Mexico are now temporarily closed. In our ocean business, we are forced to adjust our trading patterns and schedules to in response to the fluctuations in demand. Terminals, though in many places congested, at this time remain open and operating.

We often talk about partnership in business. Now more than ever we need to come together, be transparent about our respective challenges, and work to make the best of an unprecedented situation. We are here to help solve your supply chain challenges, and we will use all our imagination and resources to do so.

Our focus continues to be on health and safety, the continuity of our operations and the successful management of disruptions.

On the Ocean

We aim to maintain our service to ensure deliveries to market, whilst massively reduced volumes, volatility and increased uncertainty will impact our capacity, frequency and lead-time.

The current situation indicates an overcapacity in the Wallenius Wilhelmsen fleet of 10-15 vessels. This will be solved through a combination of redelivery of chartered vessels to tonnage providers, early recycling and cold-lay-ups. We are making these decisions now, to ensure that we quickly can adjust service and costs as the supply chain and market impacts become clearer.

In ports & terminals

Our terminals have strict access and health controls in place and are currently all in operation, thanks to the perseverance of our staff. We see disturbances and congestions at some of the ports we call, and as the COVID-19 situation develops and border restrictions take their toll we expect disruptions to increase.

At our processing centres

In line with plant closures we have had to suspended operations at several processing centres, starting temporary layoffs for about 2500 production workers in the USA and Mexico.

Developments will be continually reviewed, and activities adjusted in line with customer decisions and market developments, with a focus on returning employees to work when business rebounds.

At our open facilities, we are taking every precaution to ensure safe working environments and social distancing through adjusting the work environment, processes and only allowing business critical visits.

At our offices

To ensure business continuity and reduce the spread of the virus, many of our offices have reduced staffing or employees are working from home. This is not always straightforward, and as an increasing number of regions are closing schools and childcare facilities, we are proud to maintain service levels.

Meetings & visitors

Whilst we remain available by phone and for virtual meetings, we advise against traveling to our sites unless absolutely critical. In line with our precautionary approach, our employees will avoid travel and physical meetings. Visitors will for most of our locations be asked to complete an advance screening to ensure they have not travelled to any affected regions or been in contact with persons suffering from COVID-19.

Going forward

Risk mapping and scenario planning are a natural part of our precautionary approach, and we will continue to be in close dialogue with customer and business partners. We will be as proactive and transparent as possible in communicating any impacts to operations.

Your Wallenius Wilhelmsen contact will keep you updated on any specific changes. You can also always reach our customer care teams.

We will continue to follow developments closely, keeping in close contact with customers and business partners, working to together for the best possible outcomes.

Further information on the COVID-19 pandemic on WHO.