As a businessman, a father, and a member of the world community, I’m very concerned, as most of us are. I’ve been closely monitoring news of the progression of coronavirus around the globe – and its impact on the markets and the logistics industry, in particular.
Yet all I can be sure of these days is that there are very few things we can be sure of.
In fact, as I share these words, news just popped up that the global death toll has now passed 3,000, with South Korea and China leading the way in confirmed infections.
Apparently they are calling this thing a “novel” coronavirus, because it’s an all-new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. They know for sure it causes a highly infectious respiratory disease called COVID-19. But beyond that, they are unsure how and when it will be brought under control. Meanwhile, we wash our hands, cover our coughs, and limit exposure to crowded areas.
And we stay tuned. That’s what I have been doing, gathering all the information I can from trusted sources of information, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization. I encourage you to so the same.
Impact on Logistics
With regard to the health of the logistics industry, we should likewise keep a close eye on what is happening as the world’s second largest economy, in China, continues to spook global markets and dent growth in all sectors of the worldwide economy.
To say the potential impact of coronavirus on the logistics industry is a fluid situation is an understatement, because, as we all know, we are more interconnected today than ever. Asian markets are closely tied to European markets and to North America and South America.
For those who remember SARS in 2003, this situation is far more complex because back then, the economy worldwide was much more siloed. Today it is all interdependent.
Thus far, however, the impact of this epidemic on Prime Group operations has been minimal – but it’s not clear how much worse this outbreak will yet become and how long it will last. Some experts are now saying perhaps through the summer.
I just read a late February study by the American Chamber of Commerce stating that three-quarters of international businesses around the world expect the COVID-19 outbreak to impact 2020 revenue.
The study further states that the outbreak has affected operations “to a great extent” for 43 percent of logistics companies they surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region, with 57 percent of logistics companies saying operations were “somewhat” impacted. In terms of revenues, the report also indicated that the 86 percent of logistics companies are expecting revenue to be down between 1 and 10 percent.
What’s even more disconcerting is that the fear of what could happen is driving the markets. Yes, few things these days are for sure. But there is certainly always hope.
Let’s Focus on Progress
I think it was author and life coach Tony Robbins who once said, “The secret to handling uncertainty is to focus on progress.”
So as I get back to work this morning, I do know one thing: We are in this together. We will get past this together. If we all stay focused on progress, soon it will be business-as-usual again, I’m sure.