The global COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered every facet of our daily lives, and the same can be said for the global economy. With a large part of the planet in partial or full lockdown, the world’s economy is bracing for a recession of proportions unseen since the Great Depression. Among those most affected are the shipping and logistics industries, as well as the moving industry. The movement and public gathering limitations have crippled England’s housing market, freezing it for months. Things are changing these days – but is the change fast enough? We’ll explore the latest news on the matter below.
The Housing Market and Moving Industry
The worldwide effects of COVID-19 on the local moving industries depend on how severely the pandemic has hit a particular geographic area and how the governments with local jurisdiction have responded. One thing is sure, though – the moving industry’s fate in this crisis isn’t just tied to government regulations on freedom of movement. At the end of the day, fundamental laws of supply and demand still stand – which is why the moving industry is also affected by the state of the housing market. After all, if no one is buying new homes or renting out new units, no one is moving anywhere.
England is an excellent example of this, seeing as the housing market was basically in a complete standstill for weeks on end. However, according to the Housing Secretary, the state of the market is set to improve, seeing as estate agents are back in their offices. All of the related sectors, like conveyancers, movers, and removal companies, are also starting to get calls from clients once more.
However, the government still (rightly) insists that any conduct must remain within limits set forth by social distancing guidelines and rules on public health in the pandemic. As of now, market experts estimate that almost 500,000 renters and new homeowners have their moving plans on hold due to the pandemic. So, while the moving industry is just beginning to work again, they’ll have a flood of clients pretty soon. This also means that complementary businesses and digital marketing agencies like Movers Development can expect work slowly to resume as well.
Still, the rest of the world isn’t as ready to move on (all pun intended) as England. In fact, not even the rest of Britain is opening up as quickly. Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales have kept their housing markets firmly shut. The local lockdown regulations do not allow for house viewings, and moving companies are currently out of work there.
Naturally, England isn’t the only place whose moving industry is ravaged by the coronavirus. As one might imagine — the Chinese market isn’t looking too good either. Relocation and moving companies there have been the first to be hit by the pandemic. In the Asia-Pacific area, international relocations are all but non-existent, with even essential international travel either entirely banned or placed under incredibly intense scrutiny. In that situation, customs for household goods during relocations are quite challenging.
Asian Tigers, one of the largest relocation conglomerates in the region, has stopped all work in Wuhan and most of mainland China. They’ve also introduced company-wide temperature checks and masks for all of their staff, especially those with actual contact with clients. Additionally, the company has ceased cooperation with external contractors as of now to fully ensure their operations are compliant with guidelines on public health.
The fact that plenty of public transit lines and roads are closed means that their business won’t be working at even half its capacity for a long while. And even in the case of roads that are reopened for the public, many apartment complexes are still not allowing people from the outside to come in.
Europe and the US
The situation in Europe is beginning to look less and less dire, though heavy restrictions have dealt losses to the moving industry for weeks. The Italian movers’ trade association claims that moving operations are still possible across vast swaths of the country, even with the Northern regions being in lockdown. Drivers of moving companies were granted exemptions from the government and quarantine passes to conduct their business.
The only requirement was for the local moving companies to implement the advice from government guidelines on staff safety, as well as the health and safety of any clients and suppliers. Once the necessary hygiene standards are achieved, companies would be granted permission to ship goods and provide services all across the country — even in quarantined areas.
Finally, the United States is one of the areas where moving companies were hit the hardest. The military issued a ban on any moves, which meant that AMSA and the IAM associations needed to act swiftly to protect the sector. Luckily, moving companies proved to be among the eligible ones for a bailout. It is estimated that north of $180 million was given to moving companies by the US government in the past couple of months, and many of them have used the power of the Internet to provide services to their customers.
As is evident, the worldwide moving industry was severely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, along with the tightly intertwined housing market. With the virus spreading globally, it was only a matter of time before every regional moving sector would be affected because of the lockdowns. Some countries like the United States issued bailout funds to the badly-affected companies, while others are left to fend for themselves. But luckily, the worst of the crisis seems to be behind us, and most industries are slowly resuming operations.