• Valerie Pollmann R.

5 Tips to Navigate International Logistics During a Pandemic

International logistics, as a result of the global health crisis, has experienced some recent challenges. Simultaneously, demand in key sectors such as necessity goods and personal protective equipment has increased. Manufacturers are operating at their highest capacity, yet importers struggle to access goods needed for their communities. In an effort to help organizations navigate the logistics process during these unpredictable times, I want to share my recent experience with importing medical masks from China.

I was recently approached by an entrepreneur looking to import medical masks from two suppliers in China. Since this was his first experience importing goods, he was unaware of the specific costs and processes involved. Following an introductory call, we decided to work together.

I obtained air freight quotes as well as coordinated the timelines and paperwork required from both suppliers. I advised my client on the best shipping method, and everything was agreed upon. The day the cartons were to be collected, however, the suppliers notified me that the courier had declined the collection per a new regulation. The regulation stated that the courier could only transport these types of goods if they were over 200 kilos; my client was importing 50 kilos. Governments all over the world are making daily changes in import and export regulations to keep the economy moving and the communities safe. This new regulation had literally changed over night.

Difficult times are an opportunity for creative solutions!

Because I’ve built strong relationships with air cargo carriers over the years, I was able to quickly arrange an alternative: the shipment would be consolidated and loaded in a charter flight in order to get the parcels to the destination at a similar price to the original quote. Crisis averted!

So what can you do to manage your logistic process like a rockstar in unprecedented times?

  1. Plan... but be prepared for the unpredictable

  2. Ensure your supplier fully understands your needs and can provide all the documentation your government requires in a timely fashion

  3. Add a few extra days to your timeline... chances are your shipment will be delayed

  4. Embrace change and adapt quickly

  5. Work closely with an International Trade Manager; they will save you time, money and stress

I encourage you to continue your international trade activities, as there are currently so many opportunities for both importers and exporters. Changes, however, are happening regularly and require immediate action and reaction. By working with an international trade professional to help you manage everything from logistics to export sales, you'll be in a great position to capitalize on these opportunities.

As Albert Einstein said “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity”.


Valerie is a Virtual Assistant with over 15 years of expertise as an International Trade Specialist in South America. Valerie is passionate about assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs with their international shipping & logistics processes.

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