A state of emergency was declared in Kazakhstan on March 16. And since March 19, the country's authorities introduced a regime of complete self-isolation. Accordingly, the AsstrA team in Almaty, along with hundreds of other companies in the country, began working remotely.
The spread of Covid-19 is steadily affecting every area of life for people around the world. Numerous countries have closed borders and introduced strict quarantine measures. Some enterprises have temporarily adapted their business processes, and many have stopped production processes altogether until the crisis is resolved.
“Suspended production or manufacturing resources repurposed for medical requirements are adversely affecting the logistics industry. For example, some clothing factories are now producing masks and medical gowns. Such critical changes affect global cargo flows and shipment volumes. Delivery scheduling and global business processes in international and country-specific logistics are also affected,” says Margarita Dyadyaeva, AsstrA Kazakhstan Branch Manager and Kazakhstan Regional Country Manager.
New rules also apply to border crossings. Drivers returning from countries with reported Covid-19 cases must remain in quarantine for two weeks on the Kazakh border. Therefore, road transport delivery times from Europe are now 21-24 days instead of the normal 7-10. The perceived shortage of vehicles ultimately leads to higher product prices for end consumers.
In the current conditions, Kazakh truckers who needed just a national ID card to deliver goods to neighboring regions, such as Russia or Kyrgyzstan, cannot leave the country without a passport. As a result, some drivers with routes involving bordering countries were left without work. The largest cities of Kazakhstan are currently closed for freight traffic, with the exception of food, medicines, and other essential items.
The AsstrA team continues to provide all services using all possible freight routes. Thanks to cooperation with transport contractors whose drivers have passports, our Clients' cargoes can freely cross Russian borders as before. The majority of such cargo volume consists of oil, cosmetics, household chemicals, and metals.
In the first quarter, until the air borders were completely closed, company experts offered Customers transport solutions involving passenger airplanes. Now, air transportation is organized with transit through Azerbaijan or Istanbul.
Railway transport remains an affordable option. The solution is in demand among Customers importing goods from China, Russia, and Central Asia. After the situation stabilized in the PRC, the country’s production and export volumes are returning to normal. Chinese medical products in high demand include masks, bathrobes, equipment, and medicines. AsstrA Customers continue to import consumer goods, mobile phones, and equipment into Kazakhstan from China.
“The protective measures to contain the virus have hurt Kazakhstan’s economy. The logistics industry is also going through a difficult period. The long-awaited removal of the quarantine regime will signify the beginning of a new reality for everyone,” summarizes Margarita Dyadyaeva.