As COVID-19 continues to spread, our thoughts go out to those who have been affected. Our focus continues to be on health and safety, the continuity of our operations and minimization of any disruption.
We now see a situation that is evolving rapidly across the globe. Even as matters improve in Asia, they are escalating in Europe and the US. Factories are shutting down, borders are closing, and supply chains are being hit hard. The world has changed dramatically over the past weeks, and we are all feeling the effect. The consequence these events will have on the world economy and global supply chains remains unpredictable, but it is increasingly clear that there will be longer term impacts.
Based on the above, we are taking precautionary steps to adjust our operations and safeguard our liquidity going forward.
On the Ocean
In the coming months, service demand is unlikely to follow normal patterns and we will adjust schedules and capacity accordingly. We see that both frequency and lead-time will be impacted, but together with customers we will work hard to keep operations going the best way possible. In these uncertain times, trust and transparency will be crucial to minimizing disruptions.
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.
For crew on our vessels we have put in place rigorous biosecurity processes and minimize contact with persons from affected countries. Travel restrictions have also made it necessary to stop crew changes and shore leave. This puts both crew on board and on shore in a difficult position, and we highly appreciate their great work in this trying time.
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
We are taking every precaution to ensure safe working environments at our vehicle processing and equipment processing centres. We hope these measures together with detailed contingency planning with customers will enable us to weather the times head.
At our offices
In an effort to ensure business continuity, 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.
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.