Nordic Manager Goran Karlstrom Talks to Evertiq About The Latest China Lockdown

Nordic Manager Goran Karlstrom Talks to Evertiq About The Latest China Lockdown and its Impact on The Supply Chain

The pandemic is not over yet. Even though things are carrying on here in Sweden, the manufacturing industry and freight transport has been hit hard by new Chinese lockdowns due to new Corona cases.

Evertiq has previously reported on the closure of Shenzhen, China due to a covid eruption in  the city. Everything, except for socially critical functions, was shut down at the same time as travel to Shanghai was restricted by cancelled bus services.

Goran Karlstrom
It was flagged for delays from several major electronics manufacturers and service providers, globally, as the city is a major provider for the entire electronics industry. When the city, and thus all freight operations, start up again, we will see continued delays as the occupancy of the ports and airports is incredibly high.

Now Shanghai has also entered a “lockdown”. This time, local authorities want to preserve international transport, but Shanghai has been closed for at least ten days since March 28.

Evertiq contacted Göran Karlström, Country Manager at Fineline Nordic, who has worked actively to manage the logistics challenges.

Q: Delayed deliveries and disruptions and increased prices have affected many industries in the wake of the pandemic, including our own. How has Fineline, as a supplier, worked to be able to secure deliveries?
A: We have a clear dialogue with customers if something has been delayed. It is possible to prioritise what is most urgent and inform in the best time possible. Many customers have also placed their orders a little earlier than normal with delivery to our warehouse in Stockholm. Instead the customer chooses delivery from stock when the need arises. On the shipping side, we have a few different suppliers to choose from and we receive updates from our office in China once a week as standard. Right now it is important to be updated on the actual status.
The absolute biggest difficulty according to Göran is planning something during an ongoing pandemic, you simply have to do the best with the information that is available right now. But again, the dialogue with the customer is the most important.

Q: Now that the electronics hub Shenzhen has reopened, it is flagged that the city’s three main container ports and air freight routes from Shenzhen and Hong Kong will be heavily congested, how do you solve this catch up effect on your part?
A: Yes, it is crowded in the city’s container ports and there is a delay of 1-3 days for Customs control between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Same for express goods from Shenzhen airport – we also need more time there. We always choose what is best for the moment, but it is and has been a disturbance for all of us, says Göran.
He says that they have an ongoing dialogue with their shipping companies and that there are still disturbances in the southern parts of China. It is also difficult to see what it will look like in the future.

You have to be a little creative when you put the puzzle together simply, with extra flights, reschedule the shipments, for example via Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand to get as many goods as possible out of China and Hong Kong. Here, however, you can count on a few extra days lead time when the goods are transported a longer distance, says Göran.

Q: How much of the business would you say has been “converted” to pure problem solving due to the problems that have existed in both production and logistics in the last two years?
A: A large part, mostly in the middle of 2021. What has affected the most are price increases for transport and the printed circuit boards themselves. On transport, we have incurred some costs internally to facilitate the job itself for both us and the customer, Göran explains and continues.
– Yes there is some extra cost for us but we believe that this type of support is appreciated in the long run. It will benefit our continued growth. Shipping is still more expensive than before, the printed circuit boards had their increase in mid-2021 but have been stable since then.

The original version in Swedish is here

Interview By Dennis Dahlgren

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