After an exciting week in which we acquired the Ion Exchange Resins company Finex in Finland, this is to update you on the current situation at Jacobi Group 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. But first, welcome team FINEX!
In Europe, we have 1 COVID19 case in the Finance department. In the USA, both cases we had are expected to return to work on Monday. In Asia, we had 3 new cases: one at our plant in Coimbatore, India and 2 at our plant in the Philippines. Fortunately, this is not affecting our operations. Ocean freight remains a serious issue as delays continue to be a reality and costs continue to rise. More information below.
Ocean Freight, Order prioritisation & Inventory Optimisation
Major ocean freight difficulties continue with no sign of improvement. Increasing port congestion caused by mainly COVID19 related labor shortages is one of the main factors, together with big difficulties in repositioning empty containers. Below is the weekly update of the matrix showing the scale of risks of delays and cost increases on the various regional routes from our Asia factories – the main points are:
- Continuing upward cost trend on most routes
- Shipping lines are raising prices even more on routes where they have to cut back sailings because of congestion at the destination port, for example Felixstowe in UK
- Ongoing difficulties and delays in shipping from India and Philippines to North America, particularly the US West Coast, and Australia
Please check for current best advice of possible impact on any open orders with critical timing and anticipate longer transit times when making future orders. Global Supply Chain will work with the sales regions to make sure that all available vessel space is prioritised to the most time critical and important orders.
Order planning for the last two months of 2020 has now been fixed and no further postponements of orders scheduled to ship in November and December can be accepted.
- We have 3 new COVID19 cases in Asia this week: one in India (Coimbatore) and two in the Philippines which are linked. In both cases, we have immediately isolated and started testing the direct contacts. This is not causing disruptions to our operations, but the situation remains fragile.
- In Sri Lanka, nearly all of our employees are back to work and the lockdowns are not preventing our people from commuting to the factory any more.
- Since the beginning of November, the number of daily new cases has stabilized in India (~40,000 new cases a day), the Philippines (~2000) and Sri Lanka (~400). We expect it will take time for these trends to go down, and in India we are prepared for potential increases following the Deepavali holiday last weekend.
- In China, there have been a few new cases in Shanghai and Tianjin this week, and as a result of swift contact tracing and widespread testing by the authorities one of our employees was put in preventive quarantine. We have immediately re-imposed the wearing of masks in our plant, and there is no impact on our operations.
- A number of large capital expenditure projects are ongoing in each of our Asian factories. In the previous months, some were slowed down due to the COVID19 challenges (inability to receive contractors on our sites, delays in equipment deliveries, employees on quarantine, etc) but our teams are now working hard to complete the projects on time and safely. We are looking forward to having these new capabilities online in 2021!
- Germany: we continue to fully operate in Premnitz.
- Italy: we continue to fully operate in Basiano.
- UK: fully operational
- France: Vierzon plant is fully operational.
- Finland: fully operational.
The infection rates in several countries in Europe have increased above critical threshold levels. In several European countries, lock-downs have been implemented. Therefore, in countries like Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Finland and the UK we have reinforced measures to limit site access, restricted domestic travel to customers again and safeguard return to work policies. Unfortunately, we have one COVID19-case in the Finance department but recovery is going well.
Our production facility and warehouse locations in the U.S. remain fully operational, however at a heightened sense of alert, as regional surges continue to occur. We recently had two colleagues in the Columbus plant, who tested positive for COVID19, both of whom are about to return to work. Through quarantine and contact tracing, we were able to contain the situation and safeguard production.
We continue precautionary testing of at-risk personnel when appropriate, as a component of our continued efforts to maintain the highest focus on preventive measures at our facilities, to keep our people safe and to safeguard continuous operation.
As everyone is focusing heavily on controlling the spread of the virus and maximising 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.
Thank you for your continued support!
Stay safe and take good care,
Remko Goudappel CEO
Jacobi Carbons AB