Mobility and COVID-19: Supply Chain Implications

March 19, 2020

This document consolidates and summarises regional and local status updates received from our global partners. The updates provide the latest information on service delivery expectations for various categories. For questions or more information, talk with your Graebel representative or contact us.

In general, expect that each move will carry a degree of uncertainty. Moves currently underway might be able to go ahead, depending on the departure/destination locations. Others could be delayed or cancelled pending client direction. Moves that go forward might encounter delays as regionally applicable restrictions impact local partners.

If impacted employees have returned to their home country or another temporary location, they may need assistance with furniture and car rental and temporary accommodations.

Partners will take additional measures to ensure the safety of their own employees. We are starting to see them ask transferees and their families health-related questions.

Expect delays related to household goods shipments, immigration processing and schools as well as destination services including area tours, school tours and settling-in services.

There will be a degree of price uncertainty related to the provision of extraordinary services required due to delays and disruption of services. 

The industry is mobilising quickly to use virtual options wherever possible. This includes household goods surveys and support for language, cultural, destination services and immigration services.


Household Goods

Where appropriate, household goods providers will suggest virtual surveys. Given the degree of personal interface required during the provision of both origin and destination services, expect them to ask questions around health.

Restrictions on the shipment of air and ocean freight resulting from additional safety measures, local conditions and reduction in schedules will impact timeline and cost of shipments. In particular, container shortages are expected due to disruption in trade flows to/from China.


Temporary Accommodations

Temporary living providers are restricting and, in some cases, cancelling in-person services such as check-in and housekeeping. In many cases, virtual and self-serve alternatives are available.

Common areas are now being closed, and maintenance requests are being limited to urgent requirements.

Hotels in many parts of the world are closed, but typically a sufficient quantity remain open to provide some options. Common areas and dining services are limited or closed; it is recommended that hotel units with full kitchens only be booked.

Health questions are being asked in advance of service provision.



Certain locations have already temporarily suspended classes and other locations may follow suit depending on how that location is impacted.

For impacted locations, the typical interview, vetting and application process could be modified or suspended until further notice. Virtual options may be available.


Destination Services Providers

In some locations, all support may be temporarily unavailable or restricted to very limited personal or virtual support. Expect delays for impacted locations around local registration, as some locales have temporarily suspended operations or are limiting registration processing.


Language and Cultural Training

For impacted locations, all face-to-face support may be temporarily restricted or unavailable. Virtual options may exist.



Expect delays in immigration processing for impacted locations. Impacted locations that have suspended or delayed services may adversely impact employees if required documentation (e.g., passports) has already been submitted.


Real Estate-related Services

Generally speaking, these services are still able to proceed, but office closures and curtailment of services may result in delays in processing of related documents and forms.

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