COVID-19 pandemic has led to a major leap in e-commerce in Europe in the past several weeks. Experts forecast a 40% surge in online sales turnover this year. Although more and more countries are introducing lockdowns, the representative of Venipak notes that the supply of goods from China and other Asian countries to buyers in Europe should not be disrupted.
“The same situation that is happening in Europe was in China some time ago – global quarantine, factories closing down. However, in mid-March, Chinese companies announced that their employees were allowed to return to work and production volumes gradually returned to the period before the spread of the virus. There are concerns in Lithuania and Europe, however, that due to the lockdown and various bans, supply may cease. We can assure you that this is not the case,” the representative of Venipak said.
Kristijonas Dunauskas notes that last year Venipak opened its branch in Hong Kong and China and since the beginning of 2020 goods have been delivered to Lithuania and other EU countries without major disruptions.
“Ideally, of course, goods from China would reach Lithuania by air within 3 to 5 days. In view of the current situation, the delivery time may slightly increase, but it would certainly meet individual needs of companies. As far as the bans are concerned, certain countries have introduced export bans, which are not applicable to all goods, only to medical goods. Therefore, there is no reason for concern that trade between EU and China will stop due to bans,” Dunauskas said.
When asked as to whether there may be disruptions in the air transport, the representative of Venipak said that the world is going through the worst phase now and the situation should start improving in the next few weeks. “Passenger aircraft will not operate, but freight transport should certainly not be grounded, because entire Europe needs supplies of a wide range of goods such as clothing, machinery, medical equipment and devices. We can see that countries avoid banning freight transport, because this is an important part of the economy,” he said
“Furthermore, the airlines in the United States, Europe and Asia temporarily adapt passenger aircraft for carrying freight,” the representative of Venipak added.
Excellent opportunity for manufacturers to sell goods directly to consumers
The representative of Venipak maintains that there is a strong increase in demand for fulfilment services, as e-shops and manufacturers either avoid bringing employees to work or do not have the possibility to send goods to customers.
“These situations make businesses quickly re-orient and try innovations. A few years ago, we introduced a fully-automated fulfilment service in Lithuania and other Baltic countries. Its purpose was to eliminate the need of warehouses for e-shops and manufacturers in order to prepare goods for dispatch. The employees of the Venipak fulfilment service will prepare the goods sold by manufacturers or retailers online for shipping by arranging several different or the same type of goods into a single order and prepare the accompanying documents. Irrespective of whether there is one order per day or hundreds of orders per week, the fulfilment service will smoothly perform all necessary processes for the manufacturer or the retailer. An e-shop thus becomes only a platform where customers order a product. We are now experiencing increased demand for this service,” the representative of Venipak said.
“Although the service is becoming more and more popular, in the past there was less demand for it. Nobody thought that the day would come when people would be unable to go to work. In order to send a product to a buyer, a number of steps are required: to contact a courier, hand over the product, etc. Today, the courier service providers who take care of the entire process – from the moment of the product arrival to the country, to its storage and dispatch to the buyer – are particularly in demand,” the representative of Venipak said.
“Generally speaking, we will help businesses to ensure regular supply of goods from China or the surrounding countries and we will store and deliver these goods to customers. Everything will be as before, yet we will focus much more on the Chinese market and try to ensure that goods from China reach Lithuania and other countries as soon as possible,” the representative of Venipak said.