Much has been written about the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak and supply chain interruptions. Indeed, much more remains to be seen in terms of the continuing spread of the virus worldwide and the duration and intensity of global economic impacts. Current reports indicate China is slowly re-starting their manufacturing, distribution and international trade operations – while other nations, including the U.S., are beginning to experience the first indications of the spreading illness.
While there remain a great many unknowns, we can report on the proactive and dynamic activities A.N. Deringer, Inc. is taking to facilitate the movement of our customers’ goods and the continuity of our service delivery. We have prepared the following Frequently Asked Questions and Answers to address our response to the array of challenges posed by COVID-19.
For supply chain updates regarding COVID-19 view our Trade Alerts.
How is the virus impacting the movement of cargo?
As North American and European nations consider and implement various restrictions on the movement of people across borders, as of March 16, 2020, cargo is still moving. We are unaware of any halt to the flow of international goods. As occurred in China during the peak of the virus spread, production and distribution may slow as lockdowns and illness impact North American and European citizens. However, at this time we have not heard of any proposed governmental interventions to stop the flow of shipments. Dependent upon the mode of transportation and country of origin, customers may experience delays and price fluctuations. We note that the situation is changing frequently, so we recommend you speak with your Deringer Customer Service Center and account manager if you have questions about your particular shipments.
With shutdowns of Ontario and Quebec, are shipments from Canada halted?
Although non-essential services in Ontario and Quebec are shutting down, there have been no orders prohibiting the shipment of goods between the US and Canada. According to Amy Magnus, National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America President and Deringer’s Director of Compliance and Customs Affairs, “At this time, NCBFAA has not received any notifications from the US government indicating that the flow of goods across the border is interrupted.”
To prevent the further spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the provinces of Quebec and Ontario announced the shutdown of all non-essential businesses. The determination of an essential business varies by province, but in many cases includes the raw materials necessary to support priority and essential services, as well as businesses engaged in transportation, government, construction, health services, agriculture, some manufacturing, and others.
- Government of Ontario: List of essential workplaces
- Government of Quebec: Minimization of non-priority services and activities
Other provinces have announced measures against the spread of COVID-19 as well, including the shutdown of borders to non-residents and non-essential travel, while remaining open to all commercial cargo.
Based on guidance provided by the US Department of Homeland Security, the US/Canada border is open for all commercial goods crossing the border, and both countries consider truckers and Customs brokers to be essential business activities.
What guidance has FDA provided regarding the import of COVID-19-related goods?
Download “FAQ: Import of COVID-19 Related Goods” for information about products authorized by an emergency use authorization and the import of personal protective equipment (e.g., face masks, respirators, ventilators, diagnostics tests, etc.), hand sanitizers, and disinfectants.
How is Deringer handling warehouse and distribution center operations?
At the moment, our warehouses and distribution centers are staffed and cargo is moving in and out routinely.
As we look ahead, note that Deringer will follow local, state and federal requirements – and continue to support our customers’ storage and distribution needs with personnel, systems, and services as allowed. If there are significant changes to report, we will provide updates to this page.
What is Deringer’s primary concern about the spread of coronavirus?
There are actually two priority issues the company is addressing at this time:
- the health and wellbeing of our employees and
- the consistent and quality delivery of our brokerage, freight forwarding, consulting, meat inspection, and warehouse and distribution services to all of our valued customers.
How is Deringer preparing for the potential of widespread illness in and outside the U.S.?
We have been constantly monitoring health, government and supply chain resources so we can remain up to speed on the latest recommendations and guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) – and to remain vigilant as to the movement and schedule of cargo and Customs clearances.
We are currently taking CDC-recommended precautions to minimize exposure to the illness in our workplaces and communities, including:
- Maintaining flexible and positive policies that allow employees with symptoms to remain at home if they or their family members are ill, or options/opportunities to work from home to avoid exposure to the virus
- Providing company-wide and departmental educational communications regarding symptoms and virus spread mitigation measures
- Training and frequent reminders to employees to complete sustained hand washing
- Abstaining from hand-shaking
- Maintaining an adequate supply of sanitizing wipes and paper products
- Frequent office cleaning
What will happen if quarantines are mandated?
Deringer will comply with all local, regional, and federal health and government mandates to quarantine, as a robust compliance culture is a part of our DNA. For many years, the company has invested in and built an emergency preparedness infrastructure that may mitigate the impacts of quarantine(s). This business continuity infrastructure includes the following:
- A workforce that is ready and capable to work remotely if necessary
- Highly secured network and servers which allow remote, protected and monitored access
- Paperless transaction processing that allows remote access and shared work queues
- State of the art telephone communications system that can redirect incoming calls to any employee, anywhere
- Video-conference and virtual meeting programs that can replace personal travel as needed
Are Deringer employees travelling and keeping previously scheduled business appointments?
As of March 12, 2020, the company has restricted employees from travel via all mass public transportation. We have also prohibited our employees from participating in large and midsize business gatherings. We have recommended our team members to proactively reach out to our customers and partners to determine if any pre-scheduled meetings include attendees who have recently travelled to or from countries the CDC has identified as an area of concern, and we are also encouraging conference calls and ‘virtual’ or video meetings to help maintain business continuity.
We have taken these extraordinary, and hopefully short-term steps to support government health experts’ requests for ‘social distancing’ – which is believed to help slow the spread of COVID-19. We also will continuously monitor conditions worldwide and adjust accordingly.
Anything else I need to know?
Deringer is taking the COVID-19 illness seriously. While we are truly hoping for the best – the best for our employees and valued customers – we are, and have been, preparing for such an emergency for a very long time.
We will continue to do work diligently to meet the needs of our customers – and communicate any changes to our approach in the weeks and months ahead on this page.
If you have a question about your particular business with Deringer, please contact your account manager/Customer Service Center.