COVID Advisory in India

April 23, 2021

As an Indian expat living safely within the confines of the United States, it pains me to write this post as India is being racked by a massive second wave of COVID infections. This second wave has crippled the economies of cities and is at risk of sinking the entire healthcare system as (depending on the region) hospital beds and oxygen supplies have been either completely exhausted or will be so in a matter of days.


The image shown below is from data collected by John Hopkins University. New cases per day have recently achieved a new global record of 332,000. Even scarier is that given the lack of infrastructure in rural cities and states, the infection rate is estimated to be as much as 50% higher than reported numbers indicate.



While crippling for the country’s healthcare system, this will also have a strong impact on exports and supply chains - particularly on the garment and apparel industry.


Impact on Transportation and Logistics


At the time of this writing due to the caseload surge Canada has suspended all flights from India, and there are less than 10 direct flights from the United States to New Delhi. This will likely accentuate the severe capacity constraints in air freight and drive up shipping costs significantly. Due to the recent Suez Canal disruption, the only direct ocean freight services from India to the US East Coast have also been backed up, driving up demand and inflating prices as well. Due to these capacity constraints and disruptions, we recommend importers to account for a significant increase in their shipping spend and transit times.


Impact on Manufacturing


A number of cities in India have already announced a lockdown or are on the verge of doing so.

  1. Delhi NCR region has been deeply affected with 28,395 cases registered in one day. The entire state has been placed in a six day lockdown from April 20-26, which is expected to be extended further. Delhi NCR region accounts for over 25% of garment exports from India.
  2. The states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located have been the worst hit, accounting for over 1 million live cases. This has resulted in both states moving into a controlled lockdown for the next 15 days, shuttering businesses. The majority of the spinning and knitting mills for fabrics in India are located in these two states which will stifle fabric supply and cause delays in production.
  3. The state of Tamil Nadu, where Chennai is, has seen a gradual spike with over 10,000 cases recorded per day. The city has begun seeing an out-migration of labor, as people move back to their home states in fear of a complete lockdown as happened in March of 2020. If this trend accelerates, though Tamil Nadu is not locked down, factories could see a slowing of production as labor capacity dries up.


At this time, manufacturing capacity is experiencing great strain. The government is speeding up the vaccination drive but sporadic lockdowns are expected to continue for another 30 days  before the new caseload begins to decline. At SILQ, we've instituted additional safety precautions and suspended long distance travel for our team of inspectors managing production orders.


If you are ever in need of any additional information on specific cities or product categories that are being impacted, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

About SILQ: SILQ is a quality inspection and production management service built to support fashion brands with global sourcing and manufacturing. Our teams of dedicated merchandisers and QA professionals serve as an extension of your team with the latest updates from the factory floor, delivered in one intuitive platform. From sampling and product development to production monitoring, we help our customers achieve the quality, compliance and on-time performance they desire, while delivering on SILQ’s promise of affording our customers a full night’s sleep.