The spread of the coronavirus is likely to impact significantly on UK importers and consumers, warns international courier services expert ParcelHero.
It says restrictions on shipments and compulsory factory closures in China’s Hubei province, which is at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, will mean significant delays on items from this Chinese manufacturing area.
And it cautions concern is spreading about the potential dangers of receiving parcels from Hubei.
Wuhan is at the epicentre of the outbreak and is the largest of 14 cities in Hubei to have been cut off from all travel. The area is a key manufacturing centre: 47% of its economy is industrial production.
Head of consumer research, David Jinks, said: “Fears about the spread of the virus beyond China through parcels’ shipments have been expressed in many key China export markets such as the USA and Malaysia.
“A US laboratory chemist who received a parcel mailed via China Post’s Wuhan facility complained to the United Stated Postal Service that such parcels could potentially spread disease ‘depending on the contents of the package’.”
He said that while ParcelHero’s live international courier services guide is not currently showing ‘significant material delays’ in shipments to or from China, he expected the situation to change.
He said: “China itself has been forced to act over the concerns of shoppers in its key export markets. China Post’s Express Mail Service (EMS) announced on Sunday that it will delay shipping orders to disinfect goods.”