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Coronavirus outbreak disrupts global flow of mail to China

(ecf.org.cn)        Updated: 2020-02-27

China Post Express Logistics announced on Feb 15 that postal services in some countries and regions were temporarily suspended from sending mail to the Chinese mainland. However, China Post has still been able to carry out most cross-border logistics business despite the novel coronavirus epidemic.

According to China Post, as of Feb 14, postal operators in Spain, Romania, Croatia, Georgia, Serbia, Jamaica, Singapore, Panama, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and Zimbabwe have been suspended from receiving and sending mail to and from the Chinese mainland, including international letters, parcels and EMS, while postal operators in Greece and Denmark were suspended from sending mail to the Chinese mainland but can still receive mail. The US Postal Service said they temporarily suspended from dispatching international correspondence, parcels and EMS from other countries to the Chinese mainland.

Limitations have been placed on mail, including letters, parcels and EMS, being sent to the Chinese mainland from Hong Kong, Mongolia and Macao, as well as from Japan and South Korea to the Chinese mainland.

The reason given is that most postal operators' supplier airlines have suspended flights to those destinations, according to China Post. Other Chinese logistic companies will also be affected if they have cross-border business connected with China Post.

China Post said they will temporarily store undelivered transit mail and will ship it to the destination countries when those transport options are once again available.

The suspension of courier services may have a major impact on many small and medium-sized cross-border companies, as many use China Post for its low prices.

It costs about 220 yuan ($31.35) to deliver one kg of goods from Tokyo to Beijing by China Post, while it costs 534 yuan using UPS Expedited, which has a guaranteed delivery time of seven days.

As dozens of airlines have suspended operations in the Chinese mainland, the cost of shipping goods has doubled, according to some industry insiders. There are still some domestic airlines providing a limited number of cargo flights.

Domestic logistics chains resumed operations on Feb 10, and international logistics express companies such as UPS, DHL, and FedEx have also resumed operations in some areas.

However, many workers in the industry are still unable to resume work as epidemic prevention and control is still the top priority in China.