Hong Kong, China (CNN) - I bet none of these people ever thought their work would be affected by a volcano in Iceland.
I am at a cargo terminal in Hong Kong. I'm told about 7,000 tons of cargo passes through this terminal every day and about a quarter of it is for Europe. But because of the ash cloud, many of the goods can't be delivered to their final destination. I see an Air France cargo plane on the tarmac. The executive showing me around tells me the flight was supposed to take off last week.
So far, most of the backlogs are not happening at the terminals but at the farms or the factories. Some farms are being forced to sell their Europe bound produce in the local markets. Factories - in China at least - haven't been badly disrupted yet though many here do worry about a potential bottleneck of shipments. Those who import European components are also concerned their production could stall if the air doesn't clear soon.
Over the weekend, passengers traveling to Europe were stuck in Hong Kong. One traveler from the Philippines who was supposed to transit to London told me he understood the chaos was being caused by an act of nature but was disappointed with the way the airlines were handling the mess. He had been sleeping on the airport floor since Friday and was looking for a way to get back home to Manila. One British family told me the earliest they could get re-booked on a flight to London was in May. Customer service representatives based here for Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, KLM, and British Airways all informed me the same: If you are traveling to Europe, don't expect to get a confirmed flight till next month.
The airlines are losing hundreds of millions of dollars. Shippers are re-routing flights to Greece, Turkey, and Spain and transporting their goods via trucks over land when they can. All are wondering, when will the eruption's disruption end?
Which makes me curious: How is your work and life being disrupted by the distant volcano?
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