Covid-19 / Coronavirus information for exporters

This site is a resource for New Zealand exporters to help them mitigate the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

We're updating this site regularly as new information becomes available. Key updates are in bold.

If you're experiencing export issues related to COVID-19, please let us know so we can assist you – see our contact details below. Doing this also helps us improve support for other exporters.

NZTE has established an Export Business Continuity Service with the support of PwC and Deloitte. This is available to any export customer of NZTE. See below for more details.

If you're not a registered customer of NZTE, or aren't sure who to contact, get in touch with us by phone at 0800 555 888 or email us here.

New Zealand has moved to COVID-19 Alert Level 4. Access key information from across Government for individuals, business and communities at covid19.govt.nz. This means only essential businesses, and those that support them, will be permitted to operate. Essential businesses include food, medicine, healthcare, energy, fuel, waste-removal, internet and financial support. This list will evolve over time – click here for the most up to date list of essential businesses.

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Government packages & support

The Government has put in place a number of measures and packages to help businesses affected by COVID-19. These include:

  • COVID-19: $17.2b economic response package
  • NZTE Export Business Continuity Service
  • Regional Business Partner support
  • Air freight option for immediate export

Advice to exporters

Click the headings below for advice on minimising COVID-19 disruption for your export business.


Leading people & wellbeing

Make the safety and well-being of staff your immediate priority, and ensure you make use of available support from Government if required.

New Zealand is currently at COVID-19 Level 4. All non essential businesses have closed with staff working from home where possible.

If your business is classified as essential and can continue to operate from your normal premises, ensure you maintain physical distancing measures to keep your staff and customers safe. Access information for employers at covid19.govt.nz for further information.

Be proactive and keep regular communication with staff and ensure they are safe, healthy and supported. Review your international and domestic travel policies in line with official advice, and activate communication plans and systems for working remotely wherever possible.

Check in with your local business partners to see how they are doing and how you might be able to support them during this time.

Our useful tools section includes a Business Continuity Plan template to help you manage your people and keep them safe.

Check out the business.govt.nz website for further wellbeing tips and tools, including:

Freight & logistics

While the Government is not aware of any formal restrictions on market access for goods exports and imports as a result of COVID-19, the pandemic is disrupting trade flows and the wider international economy. Proactive and daily communication with your logistic and insurance providers is essential as the situation is changing quickly.

NZTE is supporting co-ordination of some additional flights to deliver freight capacity. The Government has also announced details of its air freight capacity support package inviting air freight businesses to submit proposals for the Government to provide financial support for them to deliver freight capacity on key routes. Please refer to the Air freight option for immediate export box on our homepage for further detail on both.

Exporters should maintain close contact with their preferred freight forwarders and shipping lines, who will be providing regular updates. There are as number of major shipping, road and air freight companies providing excellent snapshots and updates on the current logistics situation around the world. Please visit them in the useful links section below.

Useful links:

Managing risk

Take a strategic look at your 2020 plans. Incorporate the latest market condition changes into your 2020 budget, and rebalance costs and activity based on revised revenue forecasts.

You'll need to monitor your supply chain closely, realign your product offerings, commercial organisation, channel partners and marketing approach to respond to changing market conditions - both now and after the epidemic ends.

Keep a close watch for potential opportunities and be ready to move quickly if they present themselves. 

We advise that you: 

  • Map and prioritise key risks to your business  

  • Map potential future scenarios and develop an action plan for each scenario 

  • Update business continuity and emergency plans, and communicate them to employees, customers, suppliers and partners.

You can access a Business Continuity Plan template in our useful tools section.

McKinsey & Company have put together an excellent resource on how to minimise risks to your company and employees – COVID-19: Implications for Business.

Insurance

Some insurance providers may not insure for loss, damage or delay to some cargo under the current circumstances. 

We advise that you:  

  • Get in touch proactively with your insurance provider – and stay in touch daily 

  • Review applicable insurance policies 

  • Understand what the impacts of forced majeure mean

  • Prepare for potential claims. 

Supply chain

In the short term, business continuity remains the priority. Stay in daily contact with your supply chain and your logistics partners so you're aware of the situation in their businesses and how it might affect you.

Look for any choke points or critical links in your supply chain, and consider the feasibility of sourcing from alternative suppliers to help mitigate the risk of depending on a single source for essential components.

For goods exporters, keep in touch with your freight forwarders or shipping lines which will be providing regular updates.

Further reading:

Prepare your supply chain for coronavirus: Harvard Business Review, 27 February 2020

Staying connected with markets

Maintain regular contact with your importers, distributors and other channel partners in affected countries. This lets you keep up to date on their state of operation, understand any specific challenges they are facing, and offer support during this difficult period.

Your overseas partners will have first-hand insights into how their markets may be changing, including what channels are working and how to manage any logistics or supply chain constraints.

Have open and empathetic dialogue with your partners. Whilst there may be immediate short-term problems to solve, make sure you're also discussing the mid-term outlook for the market to help you plan further ahead.


Additional resources

Below you can find information and contact details for other New Zealand government and international agencies regarding their response to COVID-19.

New Zealand Government agencies

Business.govt.nz
Covid19.govt.nz
New Zealand Customs
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
MFAT Export helpline
MFAT Safetravel
Immigration
Ministry of Health

Global agencies

World health organisation (WHO)
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Contact NZTE

We're available to talk to you about any issues your export business is facing due to COVID-19.

For existing NZTE customers, please contact your New Zealand-based Customer Manager.

If you're unsure who to contact or haven't worked with us before, you can call NZTE on 0800 555 888 or email below and one of our Customer Advisors will help you.