The Effects of the Pandemic COVID-19 on Latin America

June 15, 2021

Alexandra KleinschmidtVice President of Global Customs and Trade Advisory at Crane Worldwide Logistics, Alexandra Kleinschmidt, took part in our Café con Crane podcast series to offer an analysis of the impact that the Coronavirus COVID-19 has generated in the industry throughout Latin America.

Crane Trade Services can assist you with questions regarding this matter. For assistance, please contact CWTSConsulting@craneww.com.

Below is an excerpt from the podcast interview.


How has the pandemic, COVID-19, affected supply chain and logistics in Latin America? 

Tourism is one of the most important markets and logistics chains in Latin America and the Caribbean. If people are not traveling, they are not consuming, and if they are not consuming, the restaurant, hotel, and retail industries suffer. The transportation industry begins to decay and what we see as a result is the decline in petroleum exports due to a lack of demand. We’ve begun to see this with airlines and the capacity shortages of maritime lines to Latin America. Truthfully, the pandemic has caused many issues, and the economies of many Latin American countries are greatly suffering.     

After observing that the transportation of medical equipment to Latin American countries has increased amidst the pandemic, do any treaties or preferential regulations exist for Latin American countries when importing medical equipment from Asia or exporting to the United States? 

Every country has its own rules and regulations for importing and exporting these materials. Regarding Latin America, they are not restricting these types of merchandise, nor do they have any preferential programs; it's simply that their rules and regulations are different. For example, in Mexico, surgical masks are not considered medical equipment; instead, they are classified as textile products. Due to the World Trade Organization’s regulations, each country has the power to determine which products are necessary for its citizens. The WTO’s policies dictate that these rules cannot be discriminatory; however, the situation we find ourselves in isn’t that the regulations are discriminatory. Instead, it’s counterfeiting certain goods that government officials have discovered upon importing to their countries.

We know that the transfer of vaccines to combat Covid-19 is taking high priority in distribution. What is the impact that this decision has had on a global logistics level?

Truthfully on a global regulatory level, nothing has changed. The regulations for transporting and importing the flu or influenza vaccine are similar, if not the same, to the requirements for a COVID-19 vaccine. However, global logistics has been the most impacted by the vaccine. There are many requirements related to the temperature and state in which the vaccine must be transported to its destination. We see a growth in pharmaceutical logistics, which we have developed here at Crane Worldwide Logistics since mid-2020, and we have seen much success with this vertical.

What do you consider to be the biggest challenge you and your team have faced at Crane Worldwide Logistics?

Ensuring that our clients, importers, and exporters were updated with changes in regulations and requirements proved to be quite challenging. At times changes were being made every hour, and many government agencies were not in agreement with one another, causing delays in information. Fortunately, our pharmaceutical vertical is made up of experts in international regulations to transport medical products and experts who know the physical requirements to transport these materials. We are extremely fortunate to have professionals knowledgeable in these niches that can help our company offer our clients a complete solution.

You can listen to the full podcast in Spanish here.

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