Skeletal staff andshortage of sea containers emerge major concerns
Leather exporters have enough orders on hand, but skeletal staff strength and shortage of sea containers is threatening to delay the shipment to global customers. Every year, April to June is the peak running time for leather units and export shipment starts from June 15. However, leather units are worried that this will get delayed this year.
“We have enough orders in hand, but there are no workers. They have all gone back home fearing getting infected by Coronavirus. Those who are in need of money are willing to work,” said Ajay Kumar Singh, Managing Director of Chennai-based Shivam Apparels.
Shortage of containers is another major problem. “Also, there is a lot of delay in getting import materials as containers are stranded at various ports across the country,” he added.
Sanjay Lulla, Managing Partner at SM Lulla Industries Worldwide, said exporters have been allowed to work but there are many absentees due to fear of getting infected. Container shortage is a huge issue, he said.
The leather export units during the current Covid-19 lockdown are braving many challenges. “However, unlike the first lockdown, the units have better planned this time in terms of rotating their staff; vaccinating them and ensuring that exports are sent on time,” said M Israr Ahmed, Regional Chairman (South), Council for Leather Exports, and Director of India Shoes Exports Pvt Ltd.
The industry associations spoke to the government to ensure that everything was smooth, and employees are allowed to come to work by showing their ID cards, if stopped by the police, he said.
“We cannot run the unit with 100 per cent production due to physical distancing and issues like transportation of people. The average production should be around 70 per cent,” he said.
Meanwhile, due to an increasing number of the Covid-19 cases, and challenges due to restrictions in transportation, the Pallavaram Tanners’ Association urged its members to close the units between May 17 and May 24.