7/04/2020 16:50h
Email sent to all clients: Web Sales

The Government announced yesterday that web sales of some essential goods, like winter clothing, are now to be allowed. Considering this announcement, several of our retail clients, whose normal business is in lockdown (like ours) are gearing up to launch sales in their websites, some heavily discounted to get badly needed cash flow.

We have decided to partially restart some of our services to do that work. We will have limited number of volunteer staff working in our distribution centres to (1) fulfil web orders sent directly to clients via contactless delivery (couriers); (2) fulfil orders from our wholesaling clients to other companies that operate their own web fulfilment centres; and (3) start work on the backlog of inwards containers awaiting unpack and put-away.

Our staff will be working under systems that comply with the legal requirements for social distancing and workplace hygiene. We will attempt to observe the usual KPIs, but that may not always be possible in this force majeure situation. Our pricing will remain unchanged, unless special requirements for working during weekends and holidays are negotiated in each case.

While we confirm that we are available to accept and act on your orders for goods deemed to be ‘essential’ and, as such, exempt from the current restrictions, we are not qualified to make decisions on which goods are essential and which are not. The responsibility for that decision belongs to our clients alone and we accept no liability for acting on your instructions to pick, pack and ship any one item from your stock to any one requested destination. We need to be indemnified for any consequences of acting on your instructions and request that you provide us with that indemnity by acknowledging this email, should you wish to use our services for web fulfilment.

24/03/2020 19:30h
Can we carry on business as usual using the exemptions for ‘essential services’?

We have been approached by several clients, each claiming a special exemption. This is the stock reply that we use for those requests:

"The official definition of what are ‘essential services’ is vague. It is not our function to decide on the merits or lack thereof of any such claims, so there is no point in trying to persuade us. We have sent our staff home because we were ordered by Government to do so.

"If you believe that your goods, clients or end-uses are covered by an exemption, you need to obtain a specific written confirmation from MBIE, including an indication of any limitations or special conditions. On receipt of that confirmation, we will consider what options are available and will confirm them back to you."

We remind you that the restrictions attempt to ensure that life goes on, not that it goes on as normal.

23/03/19 22:17h
Email sent to all clients:

Today, we had the awful task of telling 107 of our friends that their job was over. They had to go home – don’t come tomorrow. There may be some Government support (it is all a bit fuzzy right now) but we will do what we can to make sure that they get as much support as is available.

We also had to tell our clients – you – that that we have closed down. Not because we chose to but because we were ordered to do so. Government has told us that “we need your support to protect New Zealand and eradicate COVID-19. Enforcement measures may be used to ensure everyone acts together, now.” There is a stiff jackboot behind all the ‘be-kind-to-each-other’ niceness, make no mistake. There is just no way that we could keep our four distribution centres open.

Our priority now is to ensure that your goods are stored safely until circumstances change (or, if you prefer, politicians get mugged by reality). When trade resumes, as it inevitably will, we will be here for you. We sincerely hope that you will still be here too.

There is some uncertainty about what exactly is meant by “essential goods” – exempted from the restrictions. A truck company operator got an indication from the Ministry of Transport saying that the Government does not intend to disrupt supply chains and the Government website notice has an ambiguous reference to “fast moving consumer goods”, no doubt some jargon picked up by a junior bureaucrat. We have decided to take a common-sense approach and interpret the words ‘non-essential’ for what they are. Until the meaning is redefined.

We have kept a small team of key staff on. The four directors and our two accountants are here (at their homes, of course), as is our Customs Manager and a few other indispensables.

If you have incoming goods, we will endeavour to receive them. If we are doing the Customs clearance or 3PL work for you, we will arrange to receive your incoming containers in our secure yards but cannot unpack them or count the contents. If you are using other forwarders or Customs brokers, ask them to book their deliveries with us (if the forwarders cannot store then) and we will do our best to receive them when we can. Again, they will not be counted into stock and you need to make your own arrangements with the relevant parties for container demurrage and detention.

We will be charging our clients for weekly storage costs (when we are not already doing so) as our landlord is so uncouth as to expect us to continue to pay rent. Likewise, we will be asking you to prepay all disbursements on Customs clearance imports, like duty, GST, Port Service Charges and Freight collections, as our bankers have about as much sense of humour as our landlord.

We are home but available. You can get us on Zoom or FaceTime, of just call us on our mobiles or email us. Daniel 021 877 015 / John 021 769 560 / Phillip 021 769 567 / Aaron 021 769 561

Best regards and stay well.
Daniel Silva