In today’s landscape there is no normal in regards to international shipping. Throughout the world, shippers have been faced with a multitude of issues. In the EU, truckers have faced multiple blockages as each country has adopted different social distancing regulations. This, coupled with a lack of access to food and facilities while driving, has presented significant operational challenges, all of which have resulted in higher than normal trucking charges throughout Europe.
Ocean transport has also become more challenging with the drop of consumer demand in North America. Blanked sailings reduced capacity by over 30% on Far East and 15% on Trans-Atlantic trade routes. This has made procuring space and equipment more challenging for shippers.
Air transport has also had its share of upheaval. With passenger flights collapsing and the demand for emergency shipments of medical cargo and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), rates have soared and space is tight. Passenger aircraft which have been repurposed to move freight, as well as freighter aircraft, are now struggling to keep up with demand. Cargo is now shipped on a more ad hoc basis, with rates and schedules changing on a daily basis.
On top of all of this, we have to be concerned about the carriers’ economic outlook, and their ability to weather the storm, so that we do not have a repeat of the Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy that caused chaos among global supply chains in 2016-2017.
For more information, contact Debbie McGuire, Manager – Freight Solutions.