Does Your Relocation Management Company Have a Continuity Plan that Addresses Border Closure?
Global Mobility Solutions (GMS) is keenly aware that our clients’ relocation needs will continue even in light of a border closure. A border closure can be implemented on the ground, at ocean ports, or through airspace. Any method that people or goods can use to travel into or out of a country may face closure. Several Household Goods (HHG) Providers are members of our Premier Alliance Network—an elite partnership of relocation service providers. GMS contacted these members to discuss their business continuity plans.
Is a Border Closure Imminent?
In the United States, the Trump Administration has indicated a desire to close the border with Mexico. What this may entail is an effort to shut ports of entry. Such an effort might:
- Prevent people from legally entering the US through a port
- Prevent goods from legally entering the US through a port
However, this may not prevent people from entering the US without papers. Many people cross into the US between ports of entry. Closing ports of entry may do little to prevent people from entering the US without papers.
Countries such as Hungary have closed borders with other countries such as Serbia and Croatia. This effort appears to be a deliberate result of the country’s push to deter asylum seekers. Also, countries such as Macedonia have started erecting fences along its border with Greece. As a result, asylum seekers in Greece are not able to cross into Macedonia to reach other parts of western and northern Europe.
The border closure between Rwanda and Uganda is difficult to define. There is no clear reason or understanding as to the underlying cause. One reason may be an undeclared trade war. Other reasons may be due to the completion of a one-stop border post, political tensions, and personal safety. Liberia implemented a border closure in an effort to halt the spread of the Ebola virus.
The government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela has closed its border with Brazil, and other crossings in Colombia have been partially closed. Part of the reason for the border closure is due to tensions surrounding foreign aid deliveries. President Maduro has warned against trying to bring humanitarian supplies to Venezuela. Venezuela has already closed its air and ocean borders with Curacao, and the islands of Aruba and Bonaire. However, this border closure has not been fully effective. As a result, Venezuelans have still been able to cross the border into Colombia.
With tensions between India and Pakistan flaring, Pakistan’s airspace was closed. This border closure affected thousands of people and flights. The airspace over Pakistan is a major route between Southeast Asia and Europe. Between Malaysia and Thailand, a temporary border closure was recently enacted as a result of a dispute over Thai motor-taxi drivers. These drivers were prevented from ferrying passengers to Malaysia through the Bukit Kayu Hitam-Sadao main border crossing. This was ostensibly due to the effort by the Malaysia General Operations Force to enhance security checks in the area.
What Happens to HHG Moves During a Border Closure?
Clearly, HHG moves could face disruption during a border closure. Depending on the issue at hand, the historical basis for any underlying dispute, and a whole range of geo-political factors, a border closure may arise at any time, for any reason.
Relocation Management Companies (RMCs) should ensure their clients’ relocations are quickly accommodated. GMS’ Premier Alliance Network members recommend the following strategic actions.
Identify the Scope of the Border Closure
Is the closure limited to one crossing, a range of crossings, or an entire border? Does the closure include air and ocean freight shipments between the affected countries? Often a border closure may be solely due to a physical barrier issue. Also, the closure may be limited to people, not goods in transport.
Develop Backup Plans for Storage or Alternate Shipment Methods
If the scope of the border closure is limited, temporary secure warehouse storage of goods may suffice. Additionally, HHG shipments may be re-routed from ground transportation to air freight or ocean freight transportation.
What Should Employers do in the Event of a Border Closure?
Employers with relocation programs that cross international borders should verify their RMC has a business continuity plan that addresses how they will manage disruptions during a border closure. Employers should examine their company’s potential exposure to this type of disruption for any relocations, and work with their RMC to ensure continuity plans are in place.
GMS’ team of global relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients with HHG moves around the world. Our team can help your company determine how to ensure continuity plans are in place should disruptions occur due to a border closure.
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Global Mobility Solutions is proud to be named and ranked #1 Overall and #1 in Quality of Service by HRO Today’s 2019 Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Survey.
Contact our experts online to discuss your company’s HHG moves and business continuity plan in face of a border closure, or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.