As most of you are aware, India is grappling with a second wave of COVID-19, which is infecting more than 350,000 people and claiming 2,500 lives every day. The healthcare infrastructure in India is near total collapse with a severe shortage of hospital beds, oxygen, and treatment medications. The country is vaccinating three million people per day, but the rate of vaccinations is nowhere near where it needs to be to achieve herd immunity in a population of over 1.3 billion.
Last week major cities and several states announced curfew like conditions and as of this week those are now being converted to total lockdowns. Officially, there are no restrictions to commerce, but as cities battle to get ahead of their respective curves, the free movement of commerce will become more restricted:
- Major metros such as Mumbai and Delhi are already locked down and Chennai, Bangalore, and Kolkata are expected to follow suit.
- Even for factories located in smaller towns and rural areas, the path of a shipment usually goes through major cities—Mumbai is home to India’s largest port, Nhava Sheva. Because of this, we are going to experience delays in container movement this week.
- As was witnessed last year, truck drivers and factory workers are fleeing to their hometowns and there is a shortage of transporters to move containers to the ports and ICD locations.
- Due to a large number of infections, factories are being forced to either shut down or operate at limited capacities. This is expected to significantly strain production.
- The service sector, which includes carriers and freight forwarders, is also experiencing a surge in infections and many of our own team members and their families are infected and quarantined. Unfortunately, these latest strains of the virus are causing extreme symptoms, causing people to become bed ridden or hospitalized.
We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis and will advise updates as they emerge.