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. 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.

This site includes:

  • Advice to exporters - leading people and wellbeing, information about freight and logistics, managing risk, cash flow, insurance and supply chain management

  • International market updates - the latest information from NZTE's international teams on COVID-19 in key markets, and what exporters need to know

  • Webinars, trade shows and events – webinars to help you navigate the effects of COVID-19 on your business, and status updates on international trade shows and events

  • Useful tools and resources - business continuity plan templates, resources for managing cash flow, and other tools to help you manage COVID-19 business impacts

  • Government packages and support - air freight options and available flights for immediate export needs, NZTE's Export Business Continuity Service, Regional Business Partner (RBP) support, and details on the Government's economic response package

  • NZ Marketplace - an online marketplace to help New Zealand exporters find offers and requests for resource at this time.

Contact your NZTE Customer Manager to access further support. 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, are 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.


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.

Wellbeing

New Zealand mental health and services provider Umbrella offers a range of downloadable articles aimed at helping support mental health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 crisis. Access them here.

You can also check out the business.govt.nz website for further wellbeing tips and tools, including:

Cash flow

Now is a good time to re-examine the demand assumptions that drive your revenue lines – not just demand from your customers, but from customers' customers, as well as all your associated cost assumptions.

Even if you don't see any direct exposure, there is likely to be an indirect effect on sales. Aim to reserve cash flow immediately to give you more options down the track.

Look closely at your forecast working capital position over the next six months and consider what adjustments you need to make. Keep a close eye on current assets such as debtors, monitor your current ratio, and stay in touch with any key creditors.

Start conversations early with your banks and financiers to keep them updated see what support is available. Make sure you're top of mind for your existing shareholders and equity funders. Think about what they're looking for and how you can deliver the outcomes they are seeking.

Consider your solvency position, now and in six months. What options do you have available to improve your position or make smarter use of assets? What other funding sources, or methods of extending existing funding, could you draw upon?

For more guidance check out the following useful tools:

  • NZTE workbook: managing your cash flow through COVID-19 (PDF) – a practical, editable workbook to help you assess your cash position, make better decisions and have informed conversations with funders and advisors.

  • NZTE guide to managing your cash flow through COVID-19 (PDF) – an expansion of the workbook, this guide gives further detail on understanding your cash position and some of the options you can use to maintain essential cash flow.

  • Direct daily or weekly cash flow model (Excel) – to support you in managing your liquidity. This helps you get a clear picture of your business's upcoming cash needs, take action on collections, and track the implications of any cash flow shortfalls.

  • Financial model template (Excel) – a tool you can use to forecast your company's financial future, by mapping your key revenue drivers and assumptions, cost assumptions, cash flow shortfalls and capital requirements.

  • Cash flow clinics – we want to help New Zealand exporters by offering technical, impartial, independent advice. If you are a New Zealand exporting business and would like to participate in a free private cash flow clinic for your company with two of our Investment staff please register here, or if you are already an NZTE customer feel free to contact your Customer Manager or Investment Manager.

International travel

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) advises that all New Zealanders do not travel overseas at this time due to the outbreak of COVID-19, associated health risks and travel restrictions. See the latest SafeTravel COVID-19 update here.

Wherever possible, you should pause or reschedule international travel for yourself and your staff, and replace scheduled trips or meetings with virtual meetings or videoconferencing.

Many international borders are now closed or apply strict health or quarantine requirements for travellers. In some cases previously approved visas may not be valid for entry.

Airlines worldwide are pausing or reducing scheduled flights, meaning you may find it difficult to travel to or within markets. You may be at risk of being stranded overseas if your return flights are disrupted.

Pressure on local healthcare systems from COVID-19 may also mean you won't have access to the same standard of care you would expect in New Zealand – even if you have health insurance in place.

If you or your team are still planning overseas travel, we strongly recommend that you check for relevant official travel advisories daily at www.safetravel.govt.nz. Travellers should also register via this site so MFAT can locate or assist you in any emergency.

Make sure that you have suitable travel and health insurance in place and check with your provider for any exclusions, as some insurers have blanket policies that exclude travel under pandemic conditions.

Anyone entering or re-entering New Zealand from any country is required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival and to register with the Ministry of Health via the Healthline service.

Useful links:

Freight & logistics

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) is working with Air New Zealand, freight forwarders, exporters and government agencies to support additional charter flights. To deliver this freight capacity, NZTE and the Ministry of Transport (MOT) are assisting Air New Zealand with funding support. Find out more about our air freight support here.

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.

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.

Some key actions you can follow are outlined below:

Ensure business continuity

  • Check contingency plans and determine recovery priorities from critical processes

  • Ensure all your inventory is within reach

  • Check the immediate and projected status of your production facilities and staff availability

Strengthen your risk assessment and recovery

  • Understand the financial implications of delivery failures

  • Determine your company's supply chain risk exposure and ascertain suppliers' recovery plans

Support your crisis communications

  • Ensure a Crisis management Team is ready to take control of time sensitive strategic decisions

Review and update business continuity plans

  • Improve your company's demand planning

  • Check your demand and supply balance, prepare buffer stock, and set up staggered productions processes

Evaluate and improve your risk assessment and recovery approach

  • Diversify supplier sources

  • Review and establish your overall risk management approach

Enhance your risk assessment and recovery capabilities

  • Implement supply chain risk management practises by conducting scenario planning exercises

  • Shock-proof strategic, high value and concentrated supplies to improve risk absorption.

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

Covid19.govt.nz
Business.govt.nz
New Zealand Customs
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
MFAT Export helpline
MFAT Safetravel
Callaghan Innovation
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.