Feature / 24 Jul 2022

Beating the lockdown blues

Shanghai is gradually getting back to normal after another long lockdown introduced at the end of March 2022.

It has been a tough few months. In the early stages, many major online grocery buying apps went down or were only open for order at a specific time of day and for limited numbers of orders, due to shortages of supplies and delivery staff. Many people struggled to put a hot dinner on their table.

Our Shanghai staff were among those who faced the prospects of running out of food and other essentials. GAC China’s MD Simon Xu responded by taking action to help out. Working with the company’s truck providers, he arranged home deliveries of meat, eggs, milk and vegetables to 77 staff and 22 customers. It was a huge task at that difficult time, but it was worth the effort as it helped our staff and key customers get through the toughest time.

Food supply truck on the way

"No-one expected the lockdown to last so long. Our food soon ran out and there was no other way to buy more. I was very anxious at this point, but then I received a message from GAC saying the company would provide food for all employees. I’m very grateful to GAC Shanghai for sending us supplies at the most difficult time."

Rain Lv, Outbound Manager – Automotive Logistics

Food supply

"The food drops significantly relieved this situation for my family. Thanks to GAC Shanghai and Simon for the solid support during the lockdown period, nothing can rob us of the spirit of team engagement, alignment and collaboration."

Kimi Luo, Air Export Manager

Logistics challenges
Despite contingency plans to minimise the impact of restrictions, the logistics challenges for ocean and airfreight in Shanghai were extreme. Limited truck access to Shanghai port terminals caused shipping containers to pile up and slow ship transfers. Many businesses encountered difficulties managing financial transactions, such as cashflow issues, and difficulties processing payments through banks and making payments to employees and vendors.

During the full lockdown, all GAC Shanghai staff worked from home and had to adapt to new working models. That included getting creative to adjust solutions to keep operations running, solve issues and meet customers’ needs.

Community spirit
The only GAC Shanghai team member to test positive for Covid-19 was Alan Peng from the Shipping Department.

Alan Peng in makeshift hospital

Although asymptomatic, he quarantined in a makeshift hospital for five days. Once he tested negative, he stayed on as a volunteer – a gesture which caught the attention of a People’s Daily reporter, who interviewed him about his decision. And despite being infected with the virus, and his voluntary work, Alan still handled 26 port calls in April.

Many other Shanghai staff became community volunteers, helping with epidemic prevention and control work, assisting neighbours to get registered for their nucleic acid codes, participating in food distribution efforts, answering enquiries and more.

Volunteer Kitty Qiu

Success under stress
“Our staff made every effort to fulfil their duties under stress, including our automotive team who kept their customers’ supply chains running smoothly,” says Elias Mandas, GAC group Marketing Manager-Automotive. “Our good relations with the authorities enabled us to obtain a special license to continue movements, whilst ensuring that strict additional safety regulations were followed without exception.”

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