As promised, this is to update you on the current situation at Jacobi Carbons and the way we are managing the consequences of the Corona crisis, making sure our people are safe and we serve you in the best way possible. We do see new COVID-19 cases at our sites in India, but it is limited and well controlled. I’ll continue updating you on a weekly basis as the situation remains fragile.
On Tuesday 22nd, we identified 2 positive Covid cases at our plant in Coimbatore (India), which was nearly inevitable given the scale of the spread there (700 daily cases now). Fortunately, our India Management Team reacted extremely fast – the entire plant was sanitized, all our post-activation operations were immediately stopped, the 70 employees who live in the same residence as our 2 cases were isolated and tested. So far, we have got only 5 positive cases. This has allowed us to restart all operations after 3 days, but with a very reduced personnel doing rotations and longer shifts. By having 30-40% of normal headcount at any point in time on the plant, and keeping all negative tested employees away for 2 weeks, we ensure the spread is being controlled. At the same time, we continue tracing and testing.
Thanks to our swift action and close collaboration with the local community, we have controlled the spread and this will result in no major delays of production.
At our plant in Tirunelveli (India), we also had 1 new positive case last week who was infected in the community, but since he was already being isolated there has been no spread.
Although the swift implementation of our Emergency Response Plan is giving us confidence that we know how to
effectively control the spread in our factories and workers’ residences, we remain at the mercy of new infections from the community and unfortunately, this situation is expected to continue for many months in India…
The pressure continues all across the region on charcoal due to the high demand, limited supply and transport challenges to which we must now add weather challenges (rain). Nevertheless, we are not running short of charcoal thanks to our close collaboration with our suppliers, but this obviously comes at a cost and we don’t see signs of relief in the coming weeks.
As everyone is focusing heavily on controlling the spread of the virus and maximizing our production output to serve our customers, we are maintaining our focus on safety as well. There has been no change to our policy in the past weeks:
- At all our plants, we have implemented strict social distancing, employees performing new tasks with modified work shifts, and restricted presence of certain employees and contractors at the factories.
- Our office teams continue working from home until December 31, 2020. If a visit to the office is necessary, strict rules are being applied in terms of hygiene, social distancing and ensuring a limited number of people in the office at any one time.
- Travel policy remains the same and is still very much restricted in order to protect ourselves and others, and to help contain the spread of the virus.
- We still do not accept visitors to our plants until the end of the year. Visitors may introduce a risk which could lead to being forced to close down the site by local authorities. In order to do everything in our power to keep our sites in full operations, we cannot allow visitors until December 31, 2020.
Your Jacobi representative will stay in close touch with you to understand your changing needs and communicate about any prospective supply delays, making sure that we can continue meeting your needs. Pro-active communication is of absolute importance to make sure we can anticipate and serve you best. In order to meet the market-needs together, we need to work closely together in maintaining the right stock levels.
All our Asian factories are running at maximum capacity but the situation is still fragile. We are maintaining very strict hygiene and social distancing rules in all our factories, transport of people and goods requires utmost attention, and safety must remain our prime focus. We still face the biggest challenge in India, as decribed on page 1. In the Philippines, the situation remains tense but stable: we have several employees in preventive quarantine but continue to run a normal operation. We have also secured strong testing capacities, should the need arise suddenly. Sri Lanka, Vietnam and China currently have COVID-19 well controlled, but their borders remain practically closed.
Next to rising charcoal costs, we are faced with increasing costs for ocean freight.
Unfortunately, part of all cost increases have to be passed on to you as our customer. As announced before, we are implementimg a price increase for all coconutshell-based Activated Carbon as of October 1, 2020.
We are back to full operations while fully respecting social distancing and hygiene rules. If a resurgence happens close to one of our operations, immediate precautionary actions are taken.
- Germany: we continue to fully operate in Premnitz.
- Italy: we continue to fully operate in Basiano.
- France: is fully operating as well with full staffing, including the AMCA team.
- Our operations in Spain, the UK, and Sweden are facing no disruptions.
Our production facility and warehouse locations remain fully operational, however, at a heightened sense of alert, as regional surges continue to occur. Fortunately, we have no COVID-19 cases at our facilities.
We continue our efforts at our facilities to maintain the highest focus on preventive measures to keep our people safe and to safeguard continuous operations.
We are conscious of the physical and mental stress level the COVID-19 context is putting on our factory employees, and it is important we manage our planning, priorities and projects in a manner that maximize production output without compromising health and safety.
Thank you for your understanding and support.
Take good care.
Remko Goudappel CEO
Jacobi Carbons AB