Based on a survey in April 2020, one third of South African businesses who are involved in importing and exporting goods and services were negatively affected.

38 percent of businesses that responded to this survey indicated to see an effect in import, whereas 32.3 percent for the export of goods and services.

It is clear that Covid has had massive implications for imports and exports specifically within South Africa. With Covid today still having huge influence on businesses and people’s daily lives this industry has been struggling to recover.

With the import sector being massively affected it has made it extremely hard for SMEs to maintain targets, cover costs and positively affect their bottom line. It is now clear that the impact of Covid-19 on global trade is significant. The ‘good thing’ here is that everybody is having the same struggle. South Africa’s export market was already struggling prior to Covid-19 though, and the global slowdown on the movement of goods is just another speed bump in the road for this sector.

For us at Chintax South Africa we have seen a massive impact. Importing has become a logistical nightmare with delays in every step. We have experienced the worst delays with our freight. Delays when leaving and then docking due to heavy backlogs. Not only are we experiencing some of the worst delays in our 20 years of importing but costs have more than doubled! This creates a ripple effect with no option to us but to increase our prices in order to cover costs. This puts a burden on our clients and likewise their customers. Things become too expensive and consumers have to choose extremely carefully what to spend their money on.

As a SME we are unsure of the face of importing within South Africa… will things get better? Will we ever go back to ‘normal’? How do we combate these challenges? How do we ensure our prices stay consistent and do not increase drastically? Options going forward? What will the future of South Africa look like given new Covid variants continually emerging?

Along with the rest of the world we have no idea what the future holds, however in order to ensure a prosperous outcome we can make plans and come up with collective ideas helping to shape a more positive future.