The current health crisis has left us with a very different picture from the one we had before, and although many changes have taken place, they do not all have to be negative, as we have been able to see the commitment and efficiency of some sectors.
The truth is that few positive things can be drawn from the coronavirus pandemic, but one is that society's awareness of the fundamental role played by the logistics sector in our day-to-day lives can be found. Logisticians, transporters, last-mile deliverers, etc. are on the list of all those heroes who have continued to do their jobs, with the risks that this entails, to ensure that the majority of the population can stay home with guaranteed basic supplies.
Although the news that came first from China and later from Italy, were already preparing us for the current situation, the state of alarm decree announced by the government last March 14 caused the general situation of fear among the population, who went massively to supermarkets and hypermarkets to buy basic necessities.
Against this background, freight forwarders and logistics operators ensured, as has been seen, that the supply chain is prepared to guarantee supply during the containment period. Jose María Bonmatí, General Manager of AECOC, I was reaffirming thisThe European Commission's report on the implementation of the European Union's strategy for the fight against poverty (COM(2003) 303 final) states: "Industry and distribution have shown their ability to continue to meet the needs of consumers".
Despite this message of peace of mind, the truth is that the sale of some products, especially non-perishable ones, has increased by 50 to 60% more than usual these days.
The focus is on the client
The main logistics operators, in order to guarantee the correct supply, put the focus on the customer. The freight forwarders and operators working with various channels have had to restructure their operations, given the irregular evolution that consumption is experiencing; while purchasing in supermarkets has increased, the activity in catering has come to a standstill after many of them have closed.
In a globalised world like the one we live in, where we import a large part of our products and raw materials from the other side of the planet, maintaining international supplies is essential. That is why the large transport companies are offering their best version to improve their service and guarantee the supply demanded by the customers.
The two sides of the coin of the current situation
Currently, there are two very different realities in logistics operators. On the one hand, there are all the companies that have seen the activity of their shops and restaurants reduced by up to 50% and those that have customers in the food or pharmaceutical sector, which operate normally and may even have increased their volume of work in recent months. Although the reality is that few logistics operators work for only one sector, so they have been affected to a greater or lesser extent.
Francisco Aranda, president of UNO Logística comments that "We ask the government for more clarity so that the companies in the sector can make an ERTE claiming force majeure".
The other side of the coin that currently exists in the logistics sector is the clear increase in e-commerce of basic necessities. It has been estimated that online purchase of these products has increased to approximately 17% since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to an increase in home deliveries. There is a fear that the lack of means for delivery companies to respect minimum security requirements.
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