Expect delays to laptops, leather goods, medicine and cars
Toilet paper might have been first to go but Australian shoppers could face delays and shortages for everything from Chinese laptops and Italian leather goods to Korean cars and smartphones in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
And industry experts have warned delays could worsen if a "second wave" of the virus hit China or travel restrictions are placed on more high-risk nations.
Australia Post spokesman Tim Whittaker said import restrictions and fewer flights were causing delays to deliveries from China, Italy, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia and Hong Kong so far.
"We are experiencing some delays from high-risk countries but these are not considered major," Mr Whittaker said.
"We don't have a timeline on delays as it all depends on flights and packages."
But the delays for transporting goods are a double-whammy for some items after their manufacture was slowed by quarantine procedures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Goods expected to be hardest hit by shortages include computers, smartphones and other electronic items that rely on Chinese components, furniture, clothes, toys and sporting equipment manufactured in China, cars from brands including Hyundai and Kia made in Korea, and leather goods and pharmaceutical products from Italy.
Freight Forwarder spokesman Tony Svasek said items sent by air had been hardest hit by coronavirus import restrictions so far as most goods were transported on passenger planes. Slower sea shipments were still being allowed out of affected countries though, he said, and faced short additional waits outside Australian ports to meet 14-day quarantine restrictions.
But he said Chinese factories would take much longer than a month to return to full production and another mass outbreak of coronavirus could create serious shortages that would affect Australian consumers.
"We have people in offices two hours from Wuhan and they still have massive quarantine restrictions, workers are resisting going back to factories, and no one wants a second wave of this virus," he said.