Coronavirus Update: Potential Impact on Global Mobility

Coronavirus Update: Potential Impact on Global Mobility

In the ongoing efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus, many countries have issued restrictions and quarantines, especially as new cases continue to be confirmed outside of China.

Relocation activities remain severely restricted in China, and the full effect on global mobility remains to be seen. Factors that may impact mobility include postponed airfreight shipments, household goods storage extensions, additional time in temporary housing, and lease extensions needed for those employees experiencing delays. Business travelers or scheduled repatriations may also be affected.

Some household goods movers and destination service providers are starting to return to work in China, apart from Wuhan locations; however, continued delays are anticipated. When ports reopen, there will be a backlog of shipments waiting for customs. Shipping rates in the APAC region are expected to increase significantly, and emergency surcharges may be incurred.

Additional impacts may be felt by transferring employees planning travel between the U.S. and China, Iran, Italy or South Korea. Employees should be aware of restrictions and are advised to closely monitor government announcements. Employers should be prepared to be flexible with employee or new hire start dates in countries that have seen significant COVID-19 outbreaks.

The response to the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, and we encourage our clients to take a proactive approach and carefully assess what is best for each employee’s international relocation plans.