Client Announcement : A further update on the impact of the Coronavirus in China

As the coronavirus continues to have a major impact on the lives of our customers and impact our business in Mainland China, we would like to provide you with more information in order to prepare your customers and assignees of the potential effect on the relocation. We trust that this information will also demonstrate how we are positioned to help you within the country itself.

DSP

Update on Schools
In order to prevent further spread of the coronavirus, the China Education Commission (CEC) announced that no school in China may open its campuses before the end of February 2020. The CEC emphasized that the situation remains fluid. They will make a further judgement regarding the re-opening of schools in the coming weeks. Given this official communication, both international and local schools in China do not anticipate re-opening before Monday, March 2.

Once government expectations are further updated and when schools can ensure the health and safety of the school community, they will establish an anticipated date when their campuses will re-open. Santa Fe will provide you with further updates as soon as the CEC and the schools can confirm the campuses re-open date.

During the period of campus closures, some schools are utilizing e-learning and others are not. Please check with your respective school for specific information. Santa Fe is happy to make relevant enquiries with your selected school should you require.

Delayed Return to China
If you have leases with a start date in February, and you expect a delayed return to China, please advise us so we can do our utmost to re-negotiate with landlords to postpone the starting date to minimize the payment of unnecessary rent.

Early Lease Termination
Per current legal advice obtained by Santa Fe China if leases are terminated early due to the Coronavirus during the fixed term, the current legal opinion is that the epidemic situation would not be considered as force majeure. Therefore, the early termination of the lease may result in loss of security deposit dependent upon the actual lease terms.

However, if the situation continues to deteriorate and home governments of the employer or the assignee recommends “Do not travel or depart” due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, then in this case, force majeure can possibly be considered but will still be subject to negotiation and discretion of related government bodies.

Santa Fe is available to support any early lease termination requests and will work with your respective landlords to protect your interests and negotiate the return of the security deposit.

Late Rental Payment
Due to the extension of the official Chinese New Year holiday, it is possible that the rent may have been paid or will be paid late. Please advise so we can support and negotiate with the landlords to accept this delay in payment with no penalty.

Conducting Home-Search Programs
Starting from January 24, many cities in China activated a top-level public health emergency alert, with multiple restrictions introduced to help reduce the spread of the infection and safeguard public health. Very strict rules were implemented at community level regarding the registration of all visitors at the residential compounds, temperature monitoring and the disinfection of public areas, please kindly inform us as early as you can if you need any urgent service so that we can check with your residence to make adequate prior preparation work.

Immigration

Both the Expat Bureau and Public Security Bureau (PSB) started work from February 3. Santa Fe China can proceed with Immigration submissions according to the client’s schedule. There is the possibility of delays in the collection and return of documents & passports due to courier shortages and various local transport restrictions. For further info you may share this link with your customers.

Moving

Delays are expected for the export & import of goods into or out of China. The backlog of shipments that typically follows the Lunar New Year will be made worse by the current coronavirus situation, pushing freight rates up and exacerbating delays. Facing low demand, shipping and air cargo companies are reducing the number of seaborne vessels/flights.

The shutdowns due to coronavirus mean that some vessels may not be able to enter or choose not to enter Chinese ports, as the loading and discharging of goods slows. Others are stuck in dock, waiting for workers to return to ports.

Local travel restrictions are also hampering the transport of goods and workforce movements. Restrictions vary across Provinces, cities and local governments with various controls designed to limit the spread of the virus impacting the ability to pack/unpack & clear customs. Many jobs scheduled for the week commencing February 10; needed to be postponed due to local government policy.

Please note that you’ll need to set client expectations about the following:

  • Delays in packing/delivery; may result in charges related to storage of the goods.
  • Delays in shipment customs clearance – customer’s passports may be required for longer periods of time to clear customs. Please expect additional bounded warehouse/customs clearance charges.
  • Export customs clearance – clients may need to pick up their passports from Santa Fe office’s directly due to lack of workforce.
  • Delays in providing services such as handyman, maid services, etc.
  • Possible increase in Santa Fe charges due to increase in Santa Fe own costs.
  • Possible access delays, challenges with residential access due to local compound regulations preventing access to outside parties. Please ensure that you confirm with the landlord & compound management that Santa Fe can access for packing/unpacking.
  • We recommend the use of face masks by clients while our packing crews are at residence. All Santa Fe staff will be wearing face masks as per China Government policy.

 

The situation is changing every day and we recommend that you contact us for daily updates. Please always double check with Santa Fe China.

Santa Fe has outstanding storage facilities across Mainland China in order to store goods whenever there is a need. Please let us know should you need a quote.

 

Further links to stay informed : 

WHO – The World Health Organisation provides advice on how to protect yourself, travel advice, situation reports, etc., .
Johns Hopkins – This excellent tracker gives a clear overview of virus mortality, patient recoveries, and geographical location of Coronavirus infections.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – similar to the WHO website, the CDC provides regular updates on many aspects of the Coronavirus.
Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Chinese language) – provides regular updates on the virus.

 

Useful links (may require a subscription or VPN if you are in Mainland China) : 

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/05/business/shipping-coronavirus-impact/index.html
https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-hits-shipping-as-china-port-traffic-slides-11580928711
https://www.joc.com/maritime-news/coronavirus-cost-china-ports-6-million-teu-first-quarter-analyst_20200205.html
https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/coronavirus-impacting-the-global-shipping-industry/
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/shipping-getting-smashed-coronavirus-more-000000936.html
https://www.aircargonews.net/airlines/freighter-operator/air-cargo-still-assessing-the-impact-of-coronavirus/

 

For further information or management escalations please contact,

James Gooding
Managing Director, North Asia
james.gooding@santaferelo.com

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