Follow the latest on the outbreak, and the impact COVID-19 is having with regards to your shipments.
Here at SkyNet Worldwide Express, we take the health and well-being of our customers and employees seriously. We are closely monitoring the global outbreak of COVID-19, and we’re working to safeguard the health of our communities. We are monitoring this situation daily, and, as we do with any unusual event, we will watch what’s happening locally and internationally and we will adjust business operations and policies as needed.
We’re committed to maintaining reliable service, while also doing our part to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Our customers should not have to worry about losing service during this critical time. We know the communities we serve rely on us to provide an essential service. We remain committed to providing reliable courier service 24-7.
To protect the communities we serve, we are asking our employees to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by:
- limiting travel,
- working from home where possible,
- restricting visitors to company offices, and
- requiring employees to stay home for 14 days if they have recently visited a country subject to a World Health Organisation travel advisory.
For employees who regularly interact with customers, we’re encouraging alternate ways of doing business and remote communication, where possible.
We are closely monitoring the situation, and you can count on us to deliver the service you need and to protect public health and safety.
In keeping with our policy of strict transparency, we will provide regular updates to the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus outbreak.
With so many countries closing their borders, we advise all customers to read our updates before sending a parcel internationally.
These are unprecedented, challenging times for everyone. As a international company that is active in numerous communities around the world, our thoughts are with our colleagues, customers and suppliers who are working tirelessly to overcome the unique challenges brought on by this exceptional situation. SkyNet Worldwide Express will continue to navigate these unchartered waters with our customers, our employees, suppliers and our communities remaining our highest priority. Rest assured that SkyNet will continue to listen to your feedback – and continue to make the best decisions we can for everyone’s wellbeing.
CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19) UPDATE
OUR EMPLOYEES AND PREVENTIVE HEALTH MEASURES
At Skynet Worldwide Express, the health and safety of our customers and employees remains our top priority. All SkyNet offices have implemented actions according to recommendations from the World Health Organisation, including hygiene awareness, self-declarations and voluntary quarantine.
SkyNet operations and offices have prepared business continuity plans, in the eventuality of COVID-19 spreading wider and governmental restrictions getting stricter. These plans include measures such as segregated shift schedules, working from home, and the preparation of secondary locations.
GENERAL SITUATION IN SKYNET'S REGIONS
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise, state and local authorities in the US, Canada and Mexico have called for more stringent steps to be taken for local governments and businesses. As a result, we have activated further control measures in our business continuity plans. Despite the challenging environment, all operations continue to function.
South and Central America
Argentina has closed borders for two weeks as of March 15; Chile has closed its border to all foreigners from March 18. Peru has declared a state of emergency and closed borders as of March 16, Colombia bans all new arrivals for one month as of March 23. Brazil has sealed its borders to nine neighbouring countries
- From March 17 for at least 30 days, the EU has closed off 26 countries – with a combined population of more than 400 million people – to nearly all visitors from the rest of the world.
- Turkey has halted passenger flights to 14 countries, 10 of them in Europe.
While the situation in each country is evolving daily as authorities impose new regulations and restrictions, our local experts are at your full disposal to assist and support you with your specific requirements.
As the COVID-19 situation is stabilising in China, business, in general, is returning to normal. China’s manufacturing sector is also recovering with factories across the nation are resuming production except for the Wuhan area. Therefore, we expect the production will return to close to standard capacity by the end of March. Transport movements, including trucking services, are also gradually returning to regular status.
With the increasing number of confirmed cases reported in several countries across South Asia, most of the local governments have stepped up their containment controls. These measures include but are not limited to 14 days self-isolation for travellers, restricted community movement and border controls.
The Middle East and Africa
As the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, state and local authorities in the Middle East and Africa countries have called for more stringent steps to be taken for local governments and businesses.
- Arabian Gulf and the Levant: Passenger flights have been halted to and from Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar (although flights are still transiting through Doha). The UAE also suspended passenger flights for two weeks starting March 25.
- There are no restrictions on cargo movement, and freighters continue to fly across the Arabian Gulf.
- Iraq: Basra airport operations, for both cargo and passengers, will be on hold until March 25. Baghdad airport operations, for both freight and passengers, will be on hold until March 25. Najaf airport is closed. Iraq has also partially stopped truck movements at certain border crossings with Turkey.
- North Africa: Egypt has suspended flights from all airports until March 31, following a similar move by Morocco, which also closed land borders with Spain. Algeria has suspended air and sea travel with Europe from March 19. Tunisia also closed its land borders and suspended international flights on March 16.
- Southern Africa: Travel restrictions are widening across Africa. Angola will halt international flights for two weeks from March 20. In South Africa, almost half of the country’s land ports of entry are closed, as well as two of its eight seaports. South Africa has also halted flights from affected countries including France, Switzerland, South Korea, Italy, Spain, the US and the UK. South Africa will be in lockdown starting 26 March 2020 for 21 days.
- West Africa: Ghana has suspended entry to visitors from countries with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Nigeria has suspended flights from 13 affected countries. As of March 21, Nigeria closed three airports (DNKN, DNEN, DNPO) to both passenger and cargo flights. Only the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja (DNAA) and Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos (DNMM) will accept international flights.
- East Africa: Kenya has halted all international incoming and outgoing passenger flights as of March 26. Rwanda has also closed its borders to all passenger flights. For both countries, cargo services will continue. Uganda has travel restrictions in place with 16 countries.
THE IMPACT ON AIR LOGISTICS
Travel restriction between 26 countries in Europe and the US that became effective on 13th of March and the EU restrictions announced on 17th of March only apply to passenger travel.
Due to the reduced number of passengers, the majority of airlines announced a drastic reduction of passenger flights offering limited capacity at market rates. Since the trade lane between Europe and North America is mostly dominated by passenger aircraft, we have been experiencing a severe drop in the available capacity.
To contain further virus outbreak, restriction on non-essential activities was put in place in several US states and between the US and Canada as well as the US and Mexico. These measures do not apply to trade flows, and all our offices continue to operate with reduced staff or in-home office mode.
The rise of COVID-19 cases in Canada and Mexico and EU travel restrictions are also leading to limited available capacity in the market.
Currently. SkyNet’s airfreight operations in Europe continue running. However, with the majority of flag carriers closing down their passenger networks, we expect significant capacity constraints to all major markets.
Increased congestion at airports and cargo rerouting via European hubs are effecting overall processing and transit times of shipments.
South Central America
Following new border closures of various countries and the subsequent drop in demand, carriers have reduced their international operations by over 70%, but currently, they are still keeping domestic services.
The Middle East and Africa
In the Middle East and Africa region, all airlines are suspending/reducing their passenger flights on the routings into the area, national carriers have also made changes to their passenger schedules due to countries` travel restrictions.
The overall situation concerning the operational status of airports, truckers and customs clearance in China have returned to normal levels by 90%. Only Wuhan airport remains closed to commercial traffic.
Production recovery is leading to an emerging transportation demand adding pressure on available capacity. Even though passenger flights are still cancelled outbound China, and Intra-Asia capacity is slowly recovering due to the freighter increase.
We are experiencing pressure on capacity caused by limited passenger flight activity to the majority of South Asia Pacific countries. Please note that the capacity situation in India is becoming challenging as well due to the increased cancellations of passenger flights resulting in rate increase and longer transit.
With the majority of carriers closing down or making significant cuts in their passenger networks, we are experiencing significant capacity constraints on all trade lanes.
SkyNet is working closely with our long-term carrier partners to have full transparency of the situation to address the needs and requirements of our customers. At this point, we can no longer assure lead times at their applicable rates.
Skynet’s offices are fully informed about the latest development of this constantly evolving situation, and we encourage you to reach out to your respective Skynet office for any further questions and any specific requirements regarding your airfreight shipments.
SOLUTIONS FOR URGENT SHIPMENTS
SkyNet is committed to serving our valued customers. Besides working closely with carrier partners to provide solutions for urgent shipments, we have also activated alternative transport modes and route solutions to support your business needs.
If you have out-of-the-ordinary shipping requests or need for critical logistics to ensure production flows, our teams, worldwide are on hand to try to help expedite your deliveries and resolve transport delays.
The Chinese Government has implemented that all export companies who wish to supply such goods to consumers must be registered as an exporter and will be issued with an exporters license number, the reason is due to the increased number of poor quality goods being produced and sold for large sums of money.
Sanitizer products must have an SDS (safety data sheet) and clearly state the alcohol percentages and handling of the product.
All goods being imported will follow the normal import clearance processes with the importers being a registered importer with an importers code and an itemized commercial invoice with the correct valuation, those who try to avoid such will be penalised for misdeclaring under Section 91 of the Customs Act.
VAT EXEMPTION FOR 'ESSENTIAL GOODS' FOR THE DURATION OF THE LOCKDOWN
27 March 2020
SARS has changed the definition of ‘essential goods’ as per the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, and the Regulation R.398 in Government Gazette No 43148 of 25 March 2020. These Regulations will apply as from 26 March 2020 at 24H00 until 16 April 2020 at 24H00, or on a date to be determined by the Cabinet member designated under section 3 of the Disaster Management Act.”
Regulation is part of the government strategy to provide relief to a business that supply ‘essential goods’ to combat the virus. The Regulation is instituted to improve the cash position of the business importing the ‘goods’ listed below. The business importing these ‘ essential goods’ would not have to pay VAT.
However, when the same imported ‘essential goods’ are resold locally, then the normal VAT rules apply. So, the importer will charge output to its customers. This is a cash flow timing concession which implies that instead of the importer paying VAT on import and claiming it back against the VAT charged on sales, the importer simply pays over the full VAT on sales.
The ‘essential’ goods required to combat the virus could result in an increase demand for the importation of these goods; the Regulation grants VAT exemptions and a full customs rebate for the period cited above.
It is important to note that these exemptions apply to the importation of ‘essential goods’ and currently, the Minister of Trade and Industry is developing regulation restricting the exportation of ‘essential goods’ as defined below.
Below is a full list of essential goods and services as per the cited regulations.
CATEGORISATION OF ESSENTIAL GOODS AND SERVICES DURING LOCKDOWN
(i) Any food product, including non -alcoholic beverages;
(ii) Animal food; and
(iii) Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any food Product
2. Cleaning and Hygiene Products
(i) Toilet Paper, sanitary pads, sanitary tampons, condoms;
(ii) Hand sanitiser, disinfectants, soap, alcohol for industrial use, household cleaning products, and personal protective equipment; and
(iii) Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above.
(i) Medical and Hospital Supplies, equipment and personal protective equipment; and
(ii) Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above.
4. Fuel, including coal and gas
5. Basic goods, including airtime and electricity.
Categories of essential services shall be confined to the following services:
1. Medical, Health (including Mental Health), Laboratory and Medical services;
2. Disaster Management, Fire Prevention, Fire Fighting and Emergency services;
3. Financial services necessary to maintain the functioning of the banking and payments environment, including the JSE and similar exchanges, as well as Insurance services;
4. Production and sale of the goods listed in category A, above;
5. Grocery stores, including spaza shops;
6. Electricity, water, gas and fuel production, supply and maintenance;
7. Critical jobs for essential government services as determined by Head of National or Provincial Departments in accordance with the guidance by the DPSA, including Social Grant Payments;
8. Birth and death certificates, and replacement identification documents;
9. Essential municipal services;
10. Care services and social relief of distress provided to older persons, the mentally ill, persons with disabilities, the sick, and children;
11. Funeral services, including mortuaries;
12. Wildlife Management, Anti-poaching, Animal Care and Veterinary services;
13. Newspaper, broadcasting and telecommunication infrastructure and services;
14. Production and sale of any chemicals, hygiene products, pharmaceuticals for the medical or retail sector;
15. Cleaning, sanitation, sewerage, waste and refuse removal services;
16. Services related to the essential functioning of courts, judicial officers, the Master of the High Court, Sheriffs and legal practitioners required for those services;
17. Essential SARS services defined by the Commissioner of SARS;
18. Police, peace officers, traffic officers, military medical personnel and soldiers, correctional services officials and traffic management services;
19. Postal services and courier services related to the transport of medical products;
20. Private security services;
21. Air -traffic Navigation, Civil Aviation Authority, Cargo Shipping and dockyard services;
22. Gold, gold refinery, coal and essential mining;
23. Accommodation used for persons rendering essential services, quarantine, isolation and the lockdown;
24. Production, manufacturing, supply, logistics, transport, delivery, critical maintenance and repair in relation to the rendering of essential services including components and equipment.
25. Transport services for persons rendering essential services and goods, and transportation of patients;
26. Services rendered by the Executive, members of Parliament, Members of the Provincial Legislature, Members of Local Councils, the Judiciary, traditional leaders and National Office Bearers. of Political Parties represented in Parliament;
27. Commissioners of the South African Human Rights Commission, Gender Commission, and the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, and the Public Protector and Deputy Public Protector; and
28. Transport and logistics in respect of essential goods as set out in A above to neighbouring countries.
SAIPA – 1st day of the shutdown
27 March 2020 at 14.00
VAT & DUTY EXEMPTIONS DURING LOCKDOWN
During the National State of Disaster, importers may qualify for import VAT exemption and duty rebate on selected tariff codes of critical supplies between 31 March 2020 and 31 May 2020.
Kindly note that the process for obtaining a certificate under rebate item 412.11 is set forth in a document entitled ” Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) under Rebate item 412.11 for Business importing Critical Supplies during the National State of Disaster”. The ”List of Relevant Tariff Codes”, what is termed the ”List of Critical Supplies” on ITAC’s website, sets forth goods for use in combating the COVID-19 virus. This list was established by ITAC in terms of Rebate Item 412.11 to the Customs and Excise Act, 1964.
Only the goods in this list may benefit, subject to a completed and approved application form, from a full rebate of customs duties.
Applicants must meet the following prerequisite with SARS:
- Registered as an importer with a valid importers code (South African ID/passports won’t be applicable)
- Registered company with CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission)
- VAT number (or indicated that the company is not a VAT registered company)
Application form to be completed
In summary, the following sections need to be completed:
- Details of the Applicant;
- Details of Manufacturer (if different from paragraph 1);
- Furnishing of information in respect of each product to be imported;
- Proving details of the nature of the business of the applicant;
- Indicating (where relevant) employment figures in relation to the end product to be manufactured;
- Affidavit; and Checklist (included in the documents to be provided as part of the checklist are·
- (i) off-take orders from potential buyers and
- (ii) CIPC certificate that the business is an approved operator during the period of national disaster).
Submission of the application via mail to ITAC Permit applications must be submitted electronically to the following officials:
For goods classifiable under Chapter 1 to 68:
For goods classifiable under Chapter 69 to 96:
- Ms Lufuno Maliaga at firstname.lastname@example.org
The applicant will be advised by ITAC of the outcome. Upon successful application, the applicant will be notified by email.
Simultaneously, ITAC will email SARS to notify it of the approval (see C.1. below).
The typical content of the rebate certificate will be:
- Issued to
- Importer’s code
- Certificate number
- Rebate item
- Year of issue
- An indication that certificate is non-transferable
- Line item – description of the commodity
- List of goods
- Tariff subheading
- Quantity (estimated quantities until 31 May 2020 as opposed to an application for each consignment)
- Customs value
- Validity period
Although being a manual process, ITAC will nevertheless endeavour to process the application within three to five days of being submitted. However, ITAC – like all entities currently in South Africa – is also affected by the lockdown. Nonetheless, ITAC is committed to expediting applications. Therefore, all applicants are urged to assist with expediting the process by submitting clearing and supporting documents at the earliest opportunity possible.
For further information, please refer to ITAC’s website – http://www.itac.org.za/pages/about-itac/covid-19-news-and-regulat
COUNTRY/BRANCH SPECIFIC COVID-19 UPDATES
All private and commercial flights entering the V.C. Bird International Airport will utilise one entry processing point. Private jets that typically land at Runway 10 are now required to present at V.C. Bird International Airport for screening and clearance. All sea vessels, including pleasure crafts, will be processed at the Nevis Street Pier. Clearance will be facilitated at the said pier between the hours of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
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Hygiene practices that help prevent the spread of viruses, include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
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