Reassuring News from China

Following on from last week’s post about the potential impact that the Coronavirus could have on our supply chain in China, here’s the first of the regular updates I promised.

I’m pleased to say that I’ve had confirmation today from our team in China that 70% of our suppliers have now been granted permits to reopen after the extended shutdown imposed after the Chinese New Year holiday. In fact, just over 50% of them are already back and working, and the main distribution port in Ningbo that most of our goods are shipped through is also now operating again.

Obviously, there’s still a long way to go and the Chinese government is continuing to impose restrictions on movement in certain areas, which is making it difficult for some migrant workers to get back to their place of work but, as I said previously, the fact that we had already boosted our stock levels in advance of the New Year holiday puts us in a relatively strong position.

I can reiterate that we hold stock in our Irish warehouse equivalent to about 16 weeks based on current order levels, and we are actively monitoring demand and buying patterns to make sure we avoid any unnecessary shortages for customers.

Clearly, it’s still a very serious situation in China and could change at any time, but none of our suppliers are based in the Hubei province, which is the epicentre of the outbreak, and all the signals we are getting at the moment are that, outside of Hubei, things are gradually returning to some kind of normality.

I’ll obviously be posting further updates as soon as I hear but I can reassure customers that all the news we have so far is positive.

By the way, if you were wondering whether you can catch Coronavirus from any goods imported from China, the answer is No. Read the World Health Organisation ‘myth buster’ here.