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Import warning from shipping experts

A Shropshire shipping company has warned of likely disruption to UK imports during the Covid-19 outbreak and is urging caution for businesses which are new to international trade.

Global Freight Services based in Telford is reporting an increase in inquiries from potential customers looking to import goods from China.

But with the coronavirus outbreak having an impact on supply chains globally as movements are restricted and manufacturers close their doors it’s feared some businesses might be left out of pocket.

Managing director Anton Gunter, said: “We would urge anyone looking to import goods from foreign countries to make sure they understand the purchasing terms before they part with any finances.

“The Coronavirus outbreak is affecting international trade across the globe and we are concerned some businesses may end up paying much more for goods or in a situation where shipment is significantly delayed or worse still, never arrives.

“We would urge anyone looking to import goods for the first time, particularly items which are currently in high demand, to seek expert advice before committing any finances.”

The warning comes as a rising number of firms report disruption with imports and exports. According to a report published recently by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) many firms were experiencing supply chain issues.

It surveyed 3,642 firms between March 9 and 22. Roughly six out of ten firms which responded to the survey are not involved in import or exporting goods. But of those which do, more than half reported some level of disruption.

The report does not reveal the degree to which supply chains and transportation is being affected.

The same report also observed that almost half of companies surveyed were suffering before the lockdown; that a quarter of firms were intending to lay off staff temporarily and the cost of online products such as cough and cold medication, pet food, loo roll and paracetamol had soared.

Pictured: Anton Gunter, managing director of Telford-based Global Freight Services

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