Local businesses face risks of disruption under Covid-19 outbreak
Many businesses are in shortage of workforce after a long-break Tet holiday, as travel remains restricted between different localities.
A prolonged Covid-19 in a number of provinces and cities is putting local businesses under serious stress to avoid disruption of operations.
A Covid-19 checkpoint at An Duong district, Hai Phong city. Source: Phapluatxahoi.vn
The Private Economic Development Research Board (Board IV) revealed the information following its quick survey with 12 business associations from February 19-22.
In the survey, the majority of respondents said they forecast the Covid-19 pandemic to stay in long-term and have adjusted their operations to better cope with the situation.
However, businesses are facing some common problems, including shortage of workers after a long-break Tet holiday as travel remains restricted between different localities.
The Covid-19 pandemic also causes severe impacts on the transportation sector, in which many transport companies are operating at 20-30% of their capacity.
In recent days, movements of goods from and out of Hai Duong province, the country’s pandemic hotspot, to other localities have been stalled, impacting supply and production chains of various industrial parks.
This came at the fact that drivers from Hai Duong are not allowed to leave the province, while those from outside do not want to enter on fear of Covid-19, or some Covid-19 checkpoints stop drivers from Hai Duong to go through.
Strict anti-Covid-19 measures adopted by Hai Duong’s neighboring cities/provinces, especially in Hai Phong, have led to a stagnation of sale and distribution of farm produce from Hai Duong, including the transportation of such products to Hai Phong port for exports.
A report from Hai Duong Automobile Transportation Association noted in case hurdles for transportation of Hai Duong farm produce are not removed until early March 2021, the financial damage would be around VND400 billion (US$17.3 million).
“Transportation firms not allowed to enter Hai Phong are forced to seek different routes and thus it incurs additional costs, making it harder for enterprises as they are still struggling with Covid-19 impacts,” noted the Board IV.
Chairman of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform Truong Gia Binh said while social distancing and other safety measures have affected demand for farm produce, the lack of empty containers for exports remain the biggest concern for local traders.
“The business community seeks greater support from local authorities in working with shipping firms to resolve the situation and prevent unreasonable surge of container shipping rates,” Binh added.
To resolves these issues, Board IV cited recommendations from business associations calling for authorities in Hai Phong and Hai Duong to set up a “buffer zone” to apply safety measures for drivers, trucks and goods; change truck drivers upon entering certain province/city.
“Regarding the transportation of goods from Hai Duong to Hai Phong port, the government could set up a specialized transport corridor to avoid disruption of supply chains,” Board IV stated.
According to Board IV, the government could consider lowering transportation fees on expressways as transport firms are forced to change their routes.