What is currently shaping the market for air freight? What for sea freight? What on the rail connection with China? You can read interesting facts here.
The situation on all routes remains extremely challenging. The latest developments in the Corona crisis make the situation even more difficult. In the direction of the USA, the capacity bottlenecks continue to worsen. The hoped-for recovery through more passenger flights is failing to materialize due to the high number of Corona cases. As a result, passenger flights with cargo options (PAX) currently offer no alternative.
On many routes charter flights are hardly available. Prices are 3-4 times higher than before the pandemic. High demand due to the pre-Christmas season further exacerbates the bottlenecks. The new Corona variant B.1.1.529 (Omikron) originating from South Africa is causing significant flight cancellations. This affects not only South Africa itself, but also large parts of the African continent. For Johannesburg, the "SAB" SENATOR Africa Bridge with 2 flights per week from Frankfurt (FRA) to Johannesburg (JNB) is a permanent and reliable alternative.
In Germany, operations are slowed down by the fourth Corona wave. Staff shortages are leading to significant delays. This also affects ground handling at virtually all German airports.
The Corona crisis is delaying operations at German sea and inland ports. Due to the stricter Corona measures now also applicable to employers (2G, 3G, etc.), on-site tests, additional proof of drivers and the like are sometimes required. For each transport, all requirements of the respective premises should be met in advance, if possible. This concerns both loading and unloading. Schedules and arrival times cannot be reliably met at present. Sea-hinterland traffic is also severely affected. Export shipments often have to wait a long time in inland terminals for loading onto ocean-going vessels. The prolonged storage of containers further tightens the already tight capacities of the terminals (source: contargo.net).
For exports from Europe to Asia, the strict zero covid strategy in China continues to impact supply chains. For example, Singapore-based shipping company ONE has announced the suspension of feeder services to South China. Services will be suspended for at least 6 weeks. In general, the following continues to apply in the direction of Asia/Far East: high rates, hardly any vacancies.
For imports from Asia to Europe, the situation has likewise hardly changed. Rates are at record levels, free seats are hard to come by. Available equipment? In short supply.
For exports from Europe to North America and Mexico, the picture is the same: high rates, full ships and a shortage of equipment. Further, congestion of waiting ships off major U.S. ports is causing delays. Ports on the U.S. West Coast continue to be the hardest hit.
Canada's west coast is dealing with extreme consequences after devastating floods caused by heavy rains. There are noticeable delays at the Port of Vancouver. This particularly affects hinterland traffic by rail and truck. Demand also remains high for traffic to South America, as do rates.
China and Kazakhstan have announced measures to improve operations at border crossings. The flagship project in this direction is the construction of a new 73-kilometer rail line in Kazakhstan at the Dostyk/Alashankou border crossing. This is intended to avoid traffic jams and make rail traffic on the New Silk Road run even more smoothly (source: railfreight.com).
On the SENATOR Asia Rail Bridge (SARB), the capacity situation for imports to Europe has improved somewhat. At some terminals in China, trucks are not available due to the Corona crisis. There may be delays in deliveries here.
CURRENT SITUATION WORLDWIDE
For airfreight, the capacity bottlenecks from the USA are easing a little. More and more passenger flights are providing relief thanks to the PAX option. Nevertheless, rates remain at a high level. From Europe to Brazil, direct flights continue to be an option only to a limited extent. A reliable solution is offered by the "SAB" flights via the Miami hub (MIA). The two airports Guarulhos (GRU) and Viracopos (VCP) in São Paulo are still overloaded. Here, 5 - 10 days delay should be calculated.
For ocean freight, cargoes from Asia to LATAM remain the biggest challenge. For shipments from Europe, free slots are also scarce. All bookings should be placed as far in advance as possible. For exports from Brazil to LATAM and the USA, there is a stubborn lack of equipment. Especially reefer containers are scarce.
China's zero-covid strategy is having a tangible impact on supply chains and passenger air travel. Now British Airways (BA) has temporarily suspended flights to Hong Kong. Background: several crew members had been quarantined at a government center. The suspension of flights will be maintained until "operational requirements for the route have been reviewed," BA said (source: bbc.com).
Cathay Pacific is also currently reducing the number of Europe routes. Quarantine measures and supply chain restrictions were cited as the cause. Due to numerous positive Corona cases among the pilots, the European flight schedule could currently not be maintained normally (source: theloadstar).
For air freight "SAB" SENATOR Atlantic Bridge from Frankfurt (FRA) to Mexico City (MEX) continues to offer an excellent option. Capacities have now been maximized. For transports to and from Asia, rates continue to rise. Booking ahead is inevitable here.
For ocean freight, delays are occurring at some ports such as Lazaro Cardenas or Manzanillo. The Corona crisis is causing shortages of personnel on land. Rates are rising again to high levels after a brief recovery. For imports and exports to and from Europe, SENATOR offers a good option with FCL and LCL service with still available capacities.
According to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the current covid warning level 1 will be maintained until further notice, despite rising case numbers and the newly discovered corona variant Omikron. Instead of raising the warning level, the government is appealing to the unvaccinated segment of the population to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
In response to the new Corona variant Omikron, many countries from Europe, North America and Asia have stopped their passenger flights to and from South Africa since November 26. The travel ban is intended to prevent the uncontrolled spread of Omikron. Tourists still in South Africa must go into quarantine at their own expense. The country's tourism industry fears devastating consequences. From a financial perspective, the Christmas season is one of the most important phases of the year for South Africa's service sector (source: tagesschau.de).
For truck freight, demand on the spot market fell by 11% year-on-year in November. Capacity has improved again slightly since the brief low at the beginning of the year.
For air freight, demand continues to increase faster than available capacity. As a result, rates on the Asia-U.S. route are currently reaching a new high. Rates to Europe are up 78% year-on-year. Because the brief relief hoped for from the return of passenger flights has so far failed to materialize, no change is forecast for the foreseeable future.
For ocean freight, container import volumes to the U.S. and Canada reached a new record high in October. Growth of up to 25% is currently calculated for 2021 as a whole. Container ships waiting outside U.S. ports remain a challenge. At Los Angeles/Long Beach, delays of at least 15 days must continue to be factored in. The dwell time of containers in the ports has increased noticeably accordingly. Experts do not expect any significant capacity expansions before 2023 due to the Corona crisis.
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