Gold Tussles with Medical PPE on Flights

Author: Corey McDowell - Economics Editor

Published: 11 May 2020

Last Updated: 2 Feb 2023


The worldwide COVID-19 crisis has shone a light on an area usually overlooked in the bullion industry: the logistics of moving gold across the world.

The worldwide COVID-19 crisis has shone a light on an area usually overlooked in the bullion industry: the logistics of moving precious metals across the world. This is especially interesting as the precious metal industry relies on a reputation of instantaneous delivery. 

Ordinarily, gold bullion bars would be transported around the globe in the freight holds on commercial aeroplanes. However, commercial air traffic has been stifled due to coronavirus shutdowns imposed by worldwide governments, which has presented huge logistical issues for the bullion industry. Of the few flights remaining, gold bullion is being relegated down in importance so that essential items get shifted first, and some companies are looking to other options to get bullion moving: 

“The limited commercial flights, charters or freighters we are using must prioritize personal protection equipment, medical, food and other essential products over our requirements to move bullion”  

Baskaran Narayanan, vice president at Brink’s Asia Pacific Ltd. 

“We’ve widened our use of cargo-only aircraft that are not dependent on passengers to fly and we’ve also chartered aircraft” 

Ariel Kohelet, Managing Director of Malta-Amit Singapore Pte. 

Gold is still continuing to flow within the market though, albeit subject to delays. Usually bullion could be delivered within 24 hours in normal circumstances, but now it is around 48-72 hours. Costs have also risen, but not to a point where prices are rising exponentially. Most of these costs have hit companies who normally transport gold over land, who are now forced to use air travel due to closed land borders. 

Gold price during lockdown

We at Chards can appreciate this, as it has been taking weeks or months for us get physical delivery of gold and silver coins and bars, which have been bought and paid for previously. 

We do not get overly anxious about this, but we know many of our customers want their gold in their hands. During the international pandemic shutdown, it has been a daily struggle to get any news on where our goods are. We have, however, taken deliveries of 2020 Sovereigns and 2020 Gold Britannias recently, which proves as a powerful counter to concerns about supply drying up in the gold bullion market.

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