Coronavirus, China and fireworks

Discussion in 'Fireworks Forum Chat And Discussion' started by Pyro Pete, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. Pyro Pete

    Pyro Pete Forum Editor

    The Foreign Office has now warned against all but essential travel to mainland China - for those in the trade I'm interested to ask, is this outbreak going to affect fireworks, importers' trips to China or even manufacture this year? The lack of confirmed cases in the UK so far obviously means those who have already been out have made it back safely.
  2. I know of at least one person / company that’s not going.

    as to whether it will affect imports remains to be seen, but it looks like factories will be closed for a few more days may be even weeks.
    Pyro Pete likes this.
  3. Screenshot_20200128-201307_Gmail.jpg
    A couple of days old posted by Dominator
    Pyro Pete likes this.
  4. maxywell

    maxywell Supports UKFR

    It would probably have been a lot worse had this happened around July/August.Most likely it'll either be gone or under control before then.
  5. As for the industry, the recovery after the explosion on Dec. 4th has not been as fast! In talking with other major exporters at a recent meeting in Liuyang, all confirmed that these critical months of Dec and Jan have been largely lost with both production and shipping being greatly reduced vs previous years. While December & January typically does not feel like fireworks season for those of you selling on July 4th. It is actually a critical time for production in China. As an example, we manufactured 109,000 cartons from Dec 1, 2018 – January 12th, 2019 and we shipped 84 containers! This year our shipping is down 43% and production down a whopping 63%.

    This good news is that this accident happened early and we have some time to try to recover. The bad news is that even though we have time, the situation is very difficult. As an example, the factories are all winding down this week for the long Chinese New Year shutdown. The holiday should be over mid-February, however, the reality is that it is cold and wet in mid-February. Most factory workers are older women and only use the income as a supplement, so by choice, many will not return to work until the weather begins to warm again in April. In addition, there is the annual Beijing government meeting held in mid-March which likely will formally close the factories again. In addition, Feb & March are very wet and cold in Hunan, so this poses a challenge for production with sub-par performance and mold issues possible. And these are just the normal issues in Feb & March!

    This year, we face the additional uncertainly of the government final reaction to the Dec. 4th explosion. An “investigation team” of technocrats have set-up temporary offices in the local hotel and it appears that their goal is to show the big bosses in Beijing that “heads are rolling” and “this time will be different”. As an example, the Ministry of Emergency Management in Beijing has set a target for the industry to close another 300 factories and require the new factories be held to a higher level factory standard. So what are these “standards” exactly? China’s fireworks laws (GB Standard 2013), much like the USA’s laws, were written many years ago and have countless contradictions and disconnects with the reality of the fireworks industry. As the investigation team started to review the China laws in detail they have run across several contradictions between USA law and China law. In the past, the argument was that if an item was legal in the USA, the USA law should be used if the item was transported directly out of China. However, the Dec 4th accident was caused by a very large firecracker which supposedly was “legal” in the country it was being exported to. So now this explosion is being used by the “investigation team” to argue that foreign laws might allow dangerous products to be manufactured and therefore foreign laws should be ignored and only China law followed.

    As an example, 1.3g salutes larger than 2 inches have now been banned. 8 Inch shells, even with the improved packing have been banned. And most recently, USA products like the consumer 3 inch nine shot cakes have reclassified as 1.3g!

    All of these examples are “in-progress” interpretations by the investigation team. They have not made any final rulings yet and we don’t expect anything until after Chinese New Year. The issue is that if they enforce the China Law as it stands then there will be many conflicts with traditional USA items (3 inch consumer cakes, 1.3g Salutes, 8 inch shells, etc.). If they attempt to re-write the China law to remove some of the inconsistencies, then the risk is that the final ruling might take months. The fear is that if this drags on for months, then many of the smaller factories will simply not be able to reopen. The process is that factories can apply to the investigation team for approval to reopen at any time. However, many factories realize that they can’t meet the standard and are choosing to not apply for fear that they might be permanently closed if they are scrutinized. Even if approved, the rumor is that all factories will have to reduce workers and powder weight by 40% in order to minimize risk. So basically this means some factories might choose not to open at all for 2020 and those that do will only be able to produce at about half of normal output. If this happens, then demand will outstrip supply and obviously this will put price pressure on the industry.

    To add salt to the wound, Huayang, the biggest fireworks logistics company, stopped shipments via Shanghai on Jan 1st, due to China transportation officials claiming that their shipping paperwork (which they have used for 15 years) was not adequate. Huayang is trying to update their process and comply, but there are some serious cost implications, and a solution is still being worked on. We hope this will be resolved before the factories re-open in Feb/March, but it remains a big risk factor as well.

    Hopefully just more scare stories, maybe the authorities have bigger problems than fireworks atm
    blackbat and Firework Crazy like this.
  6. What with holiday days and shutdown there is in effect about 35 production weeks a year and we have recently lost 5 of them. However if there is some good news it's that China wouldn't be concentrating on our stuff this time of year anyway no matter what the trading companies say. They don't really get stuck into UK in earnest until the yank production is done and if they miss it they miss it.

    The problem will be if and when - and there will be a when - there is another explosion in May

    IMHO of course.
    elmo likes this.
  7. Illusion Fireworks

    Illusion Fireworks Pro Firer/Crew

    All British Airways flights to and from
    China have now been cancelled.
  8. We have also had to postpone flights for next month, hopfully clears up sooner rather than later and our production can start back up again.
    Pidgey likes this.
  9. Liuyang city on shutdown as of today all shops closed!!!
  10. elmo

    elmo Pro Firer/Crew

    not good at all :(
  11. It's not good but it could be worse. SARS killed one in ten of those infected but coronavirus currently has 170 deaths to 7700 reported infections.

    I'm not dismissing the whole thing but compared to SARS the death rate (currently) is nowhere near as bad.
  12. The distance between wuhan and Liuyang is about the same as London and Manchester.