The COVID-19 outbreak has been taking over the headlines worldwide since February 2020, with widespread effects on daily life everywhere. Generalized lockdown and international travel bans in many countries have had a massive short- and long-term impact on the international moving and relocation industry.
COVID-19: how is it affecting the relocation industry?
With the help of our broad network of industry experts in our membership and our partners, we hosted a series of online panel conversations on how the COVID-19 pandemic has and will affect the international moving industry and what strategies to implement to get through this crisis.
Based on the online panel sessions, interviews and conversations we have had over the past year with our Affiliates and partners, we published a COVID-19 white paper on the effects of the pandemic on the international relocation industry.
While it is difficult to keep track of international developments as they happen, we strongly encourage all our FIDI Affiliates and partners to keep up-to-date by checking with your local authorities on applicable rules and regulations in your respective countries, and by consulting recognized information and media channels.
- The International Airline Transportation Association (IATA) has created an interactive air travel regulations map, to follow in real-time the change in travel restrictions linked to COVID-19 safety measures.
- The European Commission keeps an updated overview of travel measures in European countries on their website.
- KPMG, one of the big four accounting companies and worldwide service provider, has published a very clear and interactive "Global Mobility COVID-19 Global Tracker" document
- Microsoft Bing publishes a clear and regularly updated interactive map on the development of the COVID-19 situation by country, with a link to the latest news reports.
- The transport and logistics website trans.info gives a good overview of transport restrictions within Europe
- For an up-to-date overview of air travel bans by country, refer to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website.
- For an updated overview of port restrictions by country, visit the Wilhelmsen website with a very clear interactive map of the main world ports affected.
- FEDEMAC, the European federation of moving companies, has published a very useful page with advice and updated information for European movers.
- The International Association of Movers (IAM) has put up a regularly updated page on the COVID-19 impact on the international moving industry, with a strong focus on military moves and the decisions of the US DoD.
- On our fellow FIDI affiliated company, Keller Swiss Group's website you can find a very clear and updated map on the restrictions on international moving in the world.
- The Asian Tigers group publishes a regular update of COVID-19 restrictions for international moving in the wider Asian region on their website.
The COVID-19 outbreak - advice for international moving and relocation companies
Faced with this global crisis, international moving and relocation companies have had to adapt and implement certain measures, in line with local rules and regulations. FIDI Global Alliance does not impose specific regulations or processes on its affiliated companies, but does advise to use common sense and follow some simple precautionary measures:
- where possible, allow your office staff to work from home; allocate crews to specific locations and avoid mixing teams as far as possible
- implement stricter hygiene measures: instruct your staff (especially operational crews) to wash their hands regularly and to avoid close contact with clients and external service providers; if possible, provide operational crews with disposable gloves when packing or unpacking goods at the client's resident; implement regular cleaning of all your facilities and vehicles
- inform your clients of the special measures put into place regarding safety and health measures
- FIDI recommends all Affiliates to carefully verify whether it makes sense to load and ship containers for the time-being, particularly considering the rapid changes in various countries worldwide. Any charges caused by the global shutdown and related to delays in ports (such as demurrage, quay rent, bonded storage, etc.) are for the full account of the origin agent (shipper), who of course is at liberty to seek reimbursement from its clients or booker. As always, clear and timely communication is key to avoid misunderstandings and/or disagreements.