SEA ISLAND, Ga. - International companies report little disruption to their operations in Egypt as a result of the widespread protests against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
Philips-Van Heusen, which produces textiles and apparel for export at plants in Egypt, has had no problems with its supply chain, said Jason Evanchik, the company's group vice president logistics at the 43rd annual Georgia Foreign Trade Conference in Sea Island.
He said Internet service was restored on Wednesday, enabling him to communicate with the company's offices in the port city of Alexandria by email. But office hours were curtailed because the street demonstrations delayed the commute to work for Phillips-Van Heusen's employees.
Companies that have cargo transiting the Suez Canal are closely monitoring conditions at the canal. But canal operations are very unlikely to be disrupted because of the heavy military presence there, said Tom France, director of global transportation and supply chain solutions for Caterpillar Logistics Services. "It's not widely known, but the UN Peacekeeping Force at the Suez Canal consists of 90 percent U.S. military forces," he said.
Because of the importance of the Suez Canal to their international supply chains, Caterpillar and Phillips-Van Heusen are checking the status of Suez operations about every half hour, both executives said.
"Evergreen Marine Corp. and its agents in Egypt are closely monitoring the events there. We plan to continue our Evergreen Line services through the Suez Canal, but our priority will be the safety of our crew and ship, as well as the cargo entrusted to us. While the situation in Egypt continues to impact us commercially and operationally, then omitting calls at ports in Egypt would be an unavoidable choice,” said an Evergreen spokeswoman.
CMA CGM has set up an Emergency and Communication Response Team to follow the situation in Egypt around the clock, keeping in close contact with its Egyptian teams in the country, assessing their safety and making sure operations are fully maintained.
CMA CGM continues to accept bookings for Egypt, and the group's vessels maintain all their calls to Egyptian main terminals at Damietta, Alexandria and Port Said West and East. Once the port of Ein Sokhna reopens, the company said it will resume vessel calls there. Vessels are transiting normally through the Suez Canal.
In spite of the limited access, all CMA CGM offices are open, except at Ein Sokhna.
-- Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com.