Logistics sector has seen a 70-80 pct drop in business
The Director of the Macau International Logistics and Forwarding Association, Victor Lei Kuok Fai, told Macau News Agency (MNA) that overall business by local logistics companies has decreased by 70 to 80 per cent since the beginning of the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“More than 95 per cent of local logistics is comprised of SMEs […] I can say that roughly since the end of January up to now business orders have dropped more than 70 to 80 per cent,” the also Managing Director at Victor Pacific Service Ltd. noted.
According to the businessman, with the exception of food supplies for supermarket orders, most logistic services have dried up.
“For retail, tourism and cosmetic I’m able to say we have seen a drop of almost 80 per cent […]” he added.
With food supplies logistics having become even more crucial than usual, Mr.Lei noted that thankfully local supermarkets have gathered good stocks since of supplies since the Chinse New Year otherwise the city would face more difficulties.
Between January and March, cross-border vehicular traffic dropped by 40.4 per cent year-on-year to 758,977 trips.
Meanwhile, merchandise exports fell by 13.7 per cent year-on-year to MOP3.1 billion (US$388.3 million) in the first quarter, with imports declining by 23 per cent to MOP16.5 billion.
Several entry restrictions have been put in place since the beginning of the crisis for border crossings between Macau, Hong Kong and Zhuhai, but with authorities allowing exceptions to be granted to professionals in services deemed of vital importance to the city, a category that would include logistic professionals carrying food supplies.
“This was only because we fought for these exemptions very strongly with the Macau and Zhuhai customs and immigration,” he noted.
However, Mr. Lei still criticised the amount of paperwork needed for cross-border truckers to apply for these exemptions and the lack of early warning given before these policies were implemented.
“There should be a communication committee between Macau and Zhuhai and we should have been warned earlier” he added. Cross-border truck drivers from Hong Kong do not need to do a lot of applications,” Lei noted.
However, the businessman has also stated that even before the crisis and, despite repeated calls for local integration in the Greater Bay Area, Macau is not actually yet a member of this regional project and is actually “marginalised” by the other parties in the region.
Lei criticised, for example, the fact that very few logistics vehicles currently use the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge even though it has been open for traffic for two years, due to complex customs rules and costs.
Another factor for the low use is the fact that the logistics centre in the Macau side of the HZMB has yet to start operating, with full customs services only existing for transport between Zhuhai and Hong Kong.
Hong Kong logistics vehicles are prohibited from entering the territory but can unload products in a specific area at the Macau customs post on the bridge so that local vehicles can deliver cargo to the territory, but the reverse way is not allowed.
“Only Macau [has no logistics service]. Why can’t we conduct logistics services even without the center being open? It’s only a building. We have a customs area on the Macau side. Zhuhai and Hong Kong have already operated for more than a year so why we’re waiting for the centre,” Lei noted.
“So how can we say we’re part of the Greater Bay Area? […] Without logistics how can the events or the gaming sector grow?”