Wednesday , 2 December 2020

Stranded in Malaysia by a volcanic ash cloud half a world away

Here I am in Jitra, a small hamlet in the extreme north of Malaysia just about 30 km (20 miles) from the Thailand border.

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Like so many others, my world is turned upside down thanks to the volcanic ash cloud emanating from Iceland.

We have been hearing of airlines loosing over $200 million a day, but what about the millions of businesses that depend on the air transportation industry right from airports to air cargo users like me.

My company, Infomart (India) Pvt. Ltd., makes its Power Over Ethernet products in Malaysia. Our largest customer desperately requires products which are already back-ordered thanks to the extreme shortages in the world wide semiconductor industry. Our products are ready to ship, but unfortunately my customer’s warehouse is in the Netherlands and their is no way to fly our products from the airport at Penang to Europe.

Similarly, we are back-ordered for our customers in the far east. Here, some of the components required for production originate in Europe. There are flights between Malaysia and the far east, but our manufacturing is stuck for want of parts, and I am sitting in this remote hamlet wondering when will the ash-jam unclog.

My story is replicated around the world, with producers having product ready and no way to ship them, or flights available and no products to ship.

Thankfully we do not deal in perishable products. Across the world, business engaged in the business of flowers, fruit, vegetables and produce are loosing money hand over fist as their products rot right from the fields to the airport warehouses they are stored in.

Passengers are suffering across the world, while hoteliers are laughing all the way to the bank. What an interconnected and warped world we live in.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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