At the very beginning of the COVID crisis, we succeeded thanks to the efficiency of our correspondent in Asia and our sourcing ability to find a Chinese industrial supplier specializing in medical products, with all the approvals and reliability necessary for such an operation, capable to produce and deliver to us in France surgical and FFP2 masks as well as various protective equipment for medical personnel.
This supplier has supplied masks to several countries including Norway in gigantic quantities. France then saying that there was none and that it was impossible to obtain any. Every country has "embassy economic advisers" capable of finding and ensuring the reliability of local businesses. The problem with these imports is that you have to pay cash and in advance. The French state does not know how to do this; and he didn't do it even in exceptional measure after saying and repeating "We are at war"
For our part, we proposed this supplier to the Prefecture of Cantal which referred us to the ARS Auvergne to which we also proposed to take on our account a significant import on our own funds. The ARS of Auvergne never contacted us again despite several urgent reminders when everyone said they had no protection.
Faced with this observation of the administration's incapacity and its failure to take our proposal into account, we therefore contacted the Departmental Council of Cantal, which seized the opportunity and we imported on its behalf, thanks to our cash flow and by advancing so the amount of the order:
- 200,000 surgical masks,
- 20,000 FFP2,
Ordered on March 3 delivered from March 24 to April 2 when everyone said there were none, plus over-blouses, latex exam gloves that WE HAVE DELIVERED WITHOUT MARGIN...
The story is not so simple because we had planned to import double this quantity (500,000 surgical masks and 50,000 FFP2) or around €150,000 in orders, but Crédit Agricole refused for 8 days (during confinement and start of telework) to release this sum that we had available in the bank, wasting our time and finally made us sign a TOTAL disclaimer of complex responsibility to make the transfer.
The transport company DHL did not help us from China either, because this company decided not to transport our entire pallets but only the boxes that made them up as simple stoppers of their cargoes. In the end, they multiplied the deliveries and therefore the invoices and the fixed costs, 11 in all, which generated a major dispute with them. Our products arrived drop by drop.
Despite everything, this break-up of the delivery may have saved us the good total receipt of the cargo. Because we were blocked at customs on the first boxes to arrive in Lyon, ordered to provide KBIS, exporter number, certificates of conformity from the Chinese factory and manufacturer, all translated into English of course, but also into French, which we had never seen, notice in French of the products, our French importer credentials for such an import and our up-to-date situation vis-à-vis the administrations with a delay before seizure of the goods of 7 days in full total confinement. We worked day and night for this. We feared the seizure and therefore a dead loss such as the imports of masks for Spain and Sweden seized by France illegally in Lyon which resulted in diplomatic incidents.
The General Council of Cantal received our import and was able to distribute the protections. (small regret despite everything: without saying a thank you), he facilitated the acceleration of the payment of these purchases invoiced at cost price, even if in the meantime the VAT rate on these operations had changed and forced us to redo the invoice.
The story was not over. In June 2020, the Fraud Prevention Department sent us a Registered letter with acknoledgement of Receipt so that we provide all the documents attesting to our ability to import and the conformity of the imported masks. Being able to download only one document at a time on their site (the logic of our state services!), We moved after an appointment to give them in the crack of a door, the file of 180 pages of supporting documents responding to their requests. Since then we have had no news or information about the interruption of the control procedure.
A kind of saga that kept us busy.
This was our contribution on your behalf to the needs of our caregivers...
More than ever we are united and will remain so because we are also pilots.
Take care of yourself and others.
Thank you for your confidence. Fly safe