In this podcast Murray Pollok, Managing Editor of International Rental News (IRN), talks to Pablo Lam, Managing Director of Chile-based rental company SK Rental, about the impact of Covid-19.
SK Rental has rental operations in Chile, Peru, Brazil, Columbia and Bolivia. Lam said the impact had been significant in all its operations, although less so in Brazil, where restrictions have so far been less strict. He also reported reduced activity in Chile’s mining sector, which represents a major part of its rental business.
The podcast gives an insight into what is happening in some of South America’s largest economies, and how one particular business is adapting.
In addition to the podcast, Lam provided his own written report on the situation, as follows: ”Like most of the world, and in addition to the very sad impact of Covid-19 on the health of people, it has affected almost every industry in South America.
”The most extreme impact has been registered in the countries were the government decided to implement strong and restricted quarantines, because activity stopped completely for more than a month, with just one day of advice.
“Colombia, for example, implemented a full quarantine in the middle of March, for two weeks, then extended for another two weeks, and again for a new period, which at the moment ends on April 26. With everybody restricted to home, all activities had to stop, except for some very strategic areas. Some infrastructure projects may soon be labeled as strategic.
”Of course, in this situation, all machines on rent the day before the quarantine was established remain stitting on the customers’ sites, so negotiations will have to come between rental companies and their customers to agree how to manage the cost of the equipment ‘in quarantine’.
”The situation in Perú, Argentina and Bolivia is similar to Colombia, with a full and restricted quarantine for more than one month already. Probably the most affected country in the región is Ecuador.
”So far, Chile and Brazil have implemented partial quarantines only, but most of the industries and construction projects have stopped or have reduced their operations, and consequently equipment on rent has been returned, or is standing by in some projects.
“All the countries in the region are reporting severe damage to their economies, especially during the second quarter of the year. Although all countries have implemented special programs to support people and the economy, there are expectations of negative figures of GDP growth for 2020 in South America.”