Moving during Lockdown – Shanghai18 May 2022
As the lockdown continues, a jump of number of expats who consider leaving Shanghai and even China in the near future. With the closure of non-essential businesses and shutdowns, planning big moves prove to be even more difficult. Jason Will, Country Manager for Asian Tigers China (mainland) was interviewed by CCS Shanghai regarding this matter.
CCS: Please tell us a little bit about Asian Tigers.
Jason: Sure. Asian Tigers have offices in 14 locations around Asia, employs over 1,400 staff and perform more than 16,000 relocations each year. We have been operating in China since 1990, have 11 offices, and employ more than 280 staff.
CCS: What services are available at this time during lockdown?
Jason: Unfortunately, due to the lockdown, we are unable to perform pre-move surveys in person, so instead our sales team have been surveys via video with our clients. This is good enough for us to estimate how many cubic metres they have so we can provide them with a door to door quotation.
Our door to door quotation includes professional packing, shipping, customs clearance and unpacking at destination. We can pencil in some packing dates, however we are unable to perform any services currently during lockdown. We can get access to our staff, but our trucks are not allowed on the road as our services are not considered ‘essential’ services and also most compounds are not allowing ‘outsiders’ to enter. So we have a fast growing list of clients to pack up when the lockdown finishes.
CCS: Some people had decided to leave China right away. Can you still provide them with services? What kind of arrangement should they make to ensure the packing & shipping of their belongings go smoothly?
Jason: Yes, a lot of people who were planning to move in June, July or August have decided to leave earlier. Also a lot of people who were not planning to leave China are also jumping on planes to leave as well. We would need to be able to access their residence after the lockdown finishes – perhaps their neighbor or friend. We can then do a video call to re-confirm what they want to ship and what belongs to the landlord.
Unfortunately, customs in Shanghai require original passports to obtain an export permit for personal effects shipments. We intend to lobby them to change this requirement given the current situation. In any case, we do have the option of exporting shipments via Nanjing or Guangzhou as they only require copies of passports. There are some other documents required as well, but they are quite simple and our Move Coordinators can assist our clients with those. For clients who have not confirmed where they will be living in the future, we can hold their goods in our Shanghai warehouse until such time as the destination is confirmed.
CCS: Can cargo ships leave Shanghai right now?
Jason: The ports in Shanghai are currently operating however there is a lack of truck drivers due to the lockdown. This has resulted in ships unable to berth at the port so now some shipping companies are by passing Shanghai and going instead to other ports.
CCS: What kind of time frame are we anticipating both for air and sea (compared to non-lockdown situation)?
Jason: Actually COVID has impacted global supply chains already for nearly two years. Freight rates are 200-300% what they were pre-COVID. There is massive congestion at ports around the world. From China there is a lack of capacity and containers. There is a lack of truck drivers in Europe and USA. In Europe many truck drivers were Ukrainian and many of them have returned to Ukraine. So transit times have been impacted by this.
Due to the high freight costs, many clients are choosing to send their personal effects to Europe via shared container. This is where we fill up a shipping container with maybe 5 or more clients who share the cost of shipping the container. The container is shipped to Rotterdam and then the goods are trucked to the final destination, wherever that is in Europe.
CCS: Is there any advice you have for people who are considering leaving Shanghai or even moving houses?
Jason: Firstly, you need to really consider what is worthwhile to ship and then sell or give away the rest. The current high freight rates mean that the cost of shipping some items may exceed the cost of buying new at the destination.
Secondly, as the list of clients wanting to get their goods packed is growing rapidly each day, the sooner you get a quotation and confirm the booking, the sooner you will get on the list. Otherwise you could be waiting for a long time to get packed up. Get a few quotations from different companies for comparison purposes.
One thing to look out for is which companies are FIDI-FAIM certified. FIDI (https://www.fidi.org ) is the only organization that certifies moving companies globally. You have to meet minimum criteria to be certified by FIDI – experience, operational capabilities, financial soundness as so forth. If a moving company does not have FIDI-FAIM certification, then there must be a reason why they have not been able to obtain it.
（Asian Tigers Shanghai is arranging Zoom meeting to clarify moving issues during lockdown）
CCS: People have many options to choose when it comes to relocation. What sets Asian Tigers apart?
Jason: Probably the biggest difference about Asian Tigers in China is that we employ our own operational staff, own our own trucks and have our own warehouses. This allows us to manage the quality of our services better. Many moving companies in China outsource all of these things.
CCS: What’s the best way people can contact Asian Tigers to get more information?
Jason: Sure – they can add my WeChat ID: JasonGWill – or add our WeChat Account through which they can request for assistance.
Website: www. asiantigersgroup.com/china