COVID-19 freight impact updates

22 September 2021 | World | General

Bansard International is closely monitoring the situation following the coronavirus outbreak. Based on the information obtained, we have decided to share the latest updates on a regular basis. The teams remain at your disposal for any further information.

COVID-19 freight impact updates


Updated: Aug 24, 2021

This summer air cargo capacity fell by 13% between 27 July and 9 August, compared to the same weeks in 2019. This second quarter has shown a mixed recovery in air cargo capacity, with most trade lanes still well below pre-pandemic levels. Load factors and yields remained at historically high levels in the last quarter, despite the reduced capacity, the increased proportion of freighter capacity (which usually operate higher load factors) has contributed to this overall load factor Increase.

In terms of air imports: Asia-Pacific, North America and Europe show the strongest absolute recovery with more than 1 million tonnes in air freight have been added in the last three months. There has also been an overall change in cargo density which has increased since the start of the pandemic, partly as a result of a change in the industry mix.

In terms of capacity and rates, due to the Asian and Sub-Indian COVID-19 policy, our teams are experiencing a large number of cancellations and prices have risen sharply, especially at the beginning of the peak season. 



Updated: Aug 24, 2021

The 3 alliances operating between Asia and Northern Europe are experiencing delays of up to a month due to worsening port congestion in Asia and Europe. For example, a round trip takes more than 100 days compared to 75 days before and a Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Felixstowe rotation now takes 18 days with waiting times compared to 6 days before.

The time spent in port or waiting for berthing windows has increased considerably, to about 40% of the overall transit time. Schedules have become rolling and companies have virtually abandoned any attempt to reinstate pro forma schedules. Global port congestion currently stands at over 300 ships waiting in port, or 10% of global ship capacity, of which 50% are waiting in Asia and 25% in North America. As for rates, the lack of empty facilities in most ports of origin has resulted in record spot market rates with demand still high. 
Our teams recommend anticipating loads with more than 4 or 5 weeks and to load on direct services and avoid transhipments.


Check out our latest country updates collected by our teams on the Asian continent: 
- Bansard Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2021)
- Bansard Cambodia (Aug 20, 2021)
- Bansard China (Sep 22, 2021)
- Bansard Singapore (Aug 23, 2021)
- Bansard Vietnam (Aug 23, 2021)



Updated: Sep 15, 2021

The covid-19 situation is now under control and the lifting of the national lockdown as from 12 Sep. Recently, rural and urban areas in Bangladesh are facing heavy rains and even floods. 

Air Freight situation:  Despite the covid-19 situation now under control and the lifting of the national lockdown from 12 Sep, the air cargo market in Bangladesh has deteriorated significantly, with the level of rates at the departure of Dhaka (DAC) breaking all records for the last 12 years. Major congestion exists before entering the airport which extended the waiting time to 4-7 days. The shortage of space, labor force, and unloading bay aggravated the delay at DAC. All airlines have increased their rates by almost 3 times compare to the previous normal situation rate and keep increasing every week. Though the price has increased to an extremely high level, the lack of capacity, freighters and ULD equipment of the airlines have led to an even longer transit time (7-9 days).
For all shipments departing from DAC, our team recommends anticipating as much as possible the bookings or, as an alternative, our SEA-AIR solution via Dubai-DXB can be also considered depending on your transit time requirements.

Sea Freight situation: Sea freight rates for all destinations have increased by a significant amount due to extreme space & container shortage issues. Some ports rate has been increased by double or by triple within a couple of month difference. The normal port and CFS activities are hampered by both space and container crises at Chittagong.



Updated: Aug 20, 2021

There is a decline in new infections and deaths of COVID-19. A large proportion of the Cambodian population has been vaccinated and the overall situation in Cambodia is under control with all operations functioning as usual.



Lockdown in Xiamen, updated: Sep 22, 2021

From 13th, September, residential areas in Xiamen have been placed on lockdown due to a new covid-19 surge. Road closure management and other control measures have been implemented in the closed areas. Residents in closed areas cannot leave and the gathering is strictly prohibited. Mass testing is continuing.
Tongan District, the location of most factories in Xiamen, has reported 129 confirmed cases and set 74 control points. All factories in Tongan District have been shut down for now, except some special industries. 

Bansard office:  At present, Bansard Xiamen teams work from home according to the government requirements and are able to respond to emails and phone calls as usual.

Air & Sea Freight situation: No official declaration of suspension from port/airport due to the epidemic. At the moment, all airports and ports are operating normally.

Road Freight situation: 
Due to the epidemic, 172 toll stations in Fujian Province are under strict control, 15 of them were fully closed. Factories in cities around Xiamen, such as Quanzhou, Zhangzhou, are not affected now and all deliveries can arrive in the warehouse on time as requested. 
Drivers are required to provide proof of nucleic acid testing. We just need to arrange the trailer in advance. Cargo with small CBM will be arranged to YTN/HKG in priority with our BBOX. 
Land transportation time will be a little longer than before, estimated more than 1-2 days, all within our control.



Updated: Sep 06, 2021

The general situation in China is under control, with the majority of COVID cases are coming from people arriving in China. However, the zero-tolerance policy for COVID-19 infections in China affects air and sea cargo entering and leaving the country. A single case of infection in one city can lead to the blockage of an entire region, some cities have suffered outbreaks and have had to impose containment measures. As the case of infection at Shanghai airport in August has led the Chinese authorities to impose a number of stricter restrictions explain further. The situation of COVID-19 in Hong Kong is also under control. Every day few cases are detected and almost all of them are visitors to Hong Kong, every visitor from most European countries, a 3-week quarantine is also required.

Bansard office: all staff from our 9 branches are working from our offices. 

Air Freight situation: 
> in Shanghai,  in mid-August, some employees at the PACTL terminal at PVG airport tested positive for COVID-19. In response, local authorities implemented an alternation of terminal employees including quarantine. As a result, the airport is still operational but there is a labor shortage, which is severely reducing available capacity. There is currently no timetable for a return to normal operations.
> in Nanjing, all international flights from/to Nanjing Lukou International Airport (NKG) will be closed for passengers and airfreights at the end of September.
> in Guangzhou cargo flights are not allowed to stay overnight at the airport.
Due to the drastic reduction in space available at PVG, many shipments are now being rerouted to other airports in China, including Hong Kong. This has an impact on the price and transit time, for example, from Hong Kong our teams note an increase in freight of 10 HKD/Kg for the standard service (3-5 days transit) and the time needed to queue in the terminal varies from 5 to 7 days depending on the carrier. 
The situation is not expected to improve until the end of September, due to the effects of the end of the quarter and the long October 1 vacation in China.

Sea Freight situation: Despite the return to return to normal of the port of Ningbo, congestion and delays are currently occurring in central and southern China. Our teams are observing the increasing of blank sailing at the departure of the main Chinese ports on the trade to Europe and North America. This is currently causing serious delays from 1 to 3 weeks, associated with the lack of equipment that is still persistent.

Rail Freight situation: The rail port of Alashankou has resumed domestic and international operations, however, the temporary closure of the port has caused congestion for which our teams are experiencing a delay of about 1 week in loading/unloading services and documentation.
The Silk Road railway is experiencing congestion at several stations between China to/from Europe, departures are delayed by about a week and our crews are experiencing delays at arrivals of a week almost doubling the total transit time.

Trucking situation: Trucking companies are resuming pickup in areas such as Nanjing and Wuhan but not in Yangzhou, which is still considered a risk area, which also affects transport in the surrounding region.




Updated: Aug 23, 2021

The Singapore Government has been controlling the situation very effectively and almost 80% of Singaporean citizens are vaccinated, allowing the economy to gradually reopen.

Bansard office: Rotating 50% of our staff between working from the office and working from home.

Air Freight situation: Air freight rates are getting extremely high due to airline space constraints.

Sea Freight situation: Sea freight rates increased due to space constrain from carriers, equipment shortage, and congestion at the port.

Trucking situation: related to Air and Sea Freight impacts, the trucking activities have been affected by delays and the shortage of equipment and manpower.



Updated: Aug 23, 2021

The Ho Chi Minh City government has extended the lockdown situation until 15 September. The authorities have asked residents to stay in their homes and only go out for essential purposes, or to work in factories or businesses that are allowed to operate.

Bansard office: 100% of our staff are working from home.

Air Freight situation: We experience a lack of capacity, every request from Ho Chi Minh city airport must be checked case by case.

Sea Freight situation: The sea freight business is still operating normally at the port of Hai Phong, however, due to recent restrictions, the Ho Chi Minh port authorities are only accepting FOB cargoes, the EXW service is temporarily stopped for now. 

Trucking situation: The processing of EXW goods in Ho Chi Minh City or in the Southern region has been stopped because a large part of the operating staff is staying at home due to the country lockdown, and thus the trucking companies are short of manpower.

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