A Finnish perspective on Covid-19 crisis

Kirjoitettu: 16.4.2020

Writer: Mr. Markku Henttinen, CEO LOGY / CEO IFPSM

Dear Readers of BME International Newsletter,

The Finnish Association of Purchasing and Logistics, LOGY, started a close cooperation with BME in 2019. Therefore please find here a short update from our side on what is currently happening here in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As all over the world, also in Finland, a Northern country with just 5,5 million inhabitants, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit us hard. We have however been lucky as the death rate due to the virus has so far been very low: on 15th of April just 72 persons have died here due to the pandemic. Our state has imposed tight regulations such as a temporary closing of the borders of the capital region. Finland is also lucky to have national stockpiles of medical supplies that have helped the country to slow down the effects of the crisis.

We do realize that the situation is much much worse in many countries and our thoughts are with all you people. We sincerely hope that this pandemic will be under control very soon. Luckily there are many vaccines and medicines being developed at the moment.

Staying in health is the most important thing at the moment but let’s still take a look at the economical side of the pandemic here. We do have a serious economical crisis at hand also in Finland. Here are some facts: ETLA Economic Research (Etla) has estimated that the Finnish GDP will decrease by 5-10 % during this year, a higher than lower percentage being more likely. Our economy is already slowing down and the transportation statistics show that also Finland’s production volumes are decreasing. Even one fifth of the Finnish employers, for example 18 % of all road transport companies and a big percentage of restaurant and hotel businesses, fear bankruptcy. It is still feared that Finland may end up with unemployment figures and bankruptcies even more severe than those during Finland’s recession in the 1990s, after which also the global financial crisis in 2008-2009 has had a strong effect on the Finnish economy. Finnish state is trying to slow down the crisis and it has for example launched a €15 billion support package in March to aid small and medium sized businesses suffering from the economic slowdown resulting from the virus.

As our country is located far from the rest of the Europe, we are content that the international cargo transportations are so far running rather well. Air freight is however a challenge due to only minimum capacity available.  Furthermore there are some delays as well as less capacity in sea cargo market as well.

The situation is very worrisome here as all over the world. We do hope that the pandemic will die down soon and that the global and local economies will consequently recover sooner than currently expected. Let us also wish that this situation will not increase the protective measures within Europe.

We wish all BME members and stakeholders the best of health and courage during these difficult times!

At your service in Finland,

Markku Henttinen
CEO Finnish Association of Purchasing and Logistics, LOGY ry / CEO International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management IFPSM

P.S. Please note the interesting read by Finnish Professor Lauri Ojala concerning Covid-19 Supply Chain impacts in general:  as well as a related Internet page that collects international views on the Supply Chain impacts