Coronavirus air and sea freight Australia update 2020

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Our sections of the ‘Coronavirus sea freight Australia update 2020’ and ‘Coronavirus air freight Australia update 2020’ were for February and March. It makes for interesting reading to see how events unfolded and impacted the international freight industry.

International air and sea freight stabilised from April

From the end of March, the international freight situation has stabilised and we are operating effectively. Feel free to contact us online and send a message, or message us on Facebook if you need any help.

How things quickly developed from February to March

We show a clear timeline for February and March on what happened:

Australia - USA freight trade safe from USA flight bans

Australia – USA freight trade safe from USA flight bans

Mar 19 – International freight safe from USA bans

Despite the USA extending and expanding the travel bans for the European countries to now include the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland from Monday, international freight is safe from USA bans. The updated travel ban was announced to ““apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo” but later clarified by President Trump that the ban will not restrict trade.

The Netherlands appeals for understanding

The Netherlands has closed schools and hospitality related businesses up until 6 April and has reached out to the local and global community requesting understanding. They are expecting freight lead times to be affected along with warehouse and production facility closures.

They have highlighted that communication will likely encounter delays as key personnel (shippers, consignees, air- and ocean lines, truckers, consolidators, handling companies) adapt to different ways of working during this time.

As we have been advising costs associated with freight are fluctuating, The Netherlands are advising that customers recheck pricing close to placing orders for the latest information.

Mar 16 – Cheaper petrol prices helping freight

Last week the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) held a ministerial meeting with both OPEC members and non-members. Past meetings had been successful in countries agreeing to adjust production levels of crude oil. The goal of this is to stabilise the amount of oil available in the market and therefore prevent cost fluctuations. OPEC lists their goal of a sustainable oil market as “in the interests of producers, consumers, investors and the global economy at large”.

The most significant reduction in quarterly demand was predicted in reports from the IHS Markit Crude Oil Market Service which expected 3.8 million barrels per day less than that seen in 2019. So it would seem to make sense that oil production levels should be dropped.

However, Russia announced that it will not continue to adjust oil production and will return to normal levels from April. Saudi Arabia has now also indicated it will reduce the selling price of crude oil and that it will increase production quantities.

Why would these countries want oil prices to drop?

Oil price has dropped to USD$33 a barrel. When production cuts are made oil prices are maintained and this helps keep oil producers in business. In particular U.S. shale oil producers who are able to continue to expand under these conditions. As the U.S. shale oil producers grow and contribute to the abundance of oil this leads to the need for all countries to adjust quantities again.

What is the link to coronavirus?

Alexander Dyukov (Chairman of the management Board of Gazprom Neft) said “the coronavirus outbreak and concerns about recession would have sent oil prices to $35 a barrel anyway, even if OPEC and its Russia-led allies had reached a deal last week”.

Instead of just taking on the reduced oil volume as shale oil increases market share again this year there is the added pressure of reduced demand due to the corona virus outbreak and associated reduced consumption of crude oil. So oil producers were already expecting a significant drop in the price of their crude oil. It is being suggested that countries are taking this opportunity to flood the market, improve market share (though at lower selling price) and potentially cause competitors to fall under the pressure.

What does this mean for freight?

There will be an excess of crude oil available but at this point in time demand is lower due to coronavirus impacting production. It is hard to say if this will mean that sea freight will go up or down, more than likely we will see fluctuation for some time as various countries go through impact and recovery cycles.

Is it really good news?
So even if sea freight costs go up, crude oil prices are going down so in the short term we may see some better petrol prices.

But there are considerable long term concerns.

Impact for the United States

In 2014, oil prices dropped to $20 and some shale oil producers were forced into bankruptcy but many were able to ride the storm. It is believed that this is another attempt impacting the high cost US. shale producers to cause economic harm to the US so that they would be able to express less power through sanctions. To reduce the impact it is likely U.S. shale oil producers will pull back production levels in response and the U.S. commentators are suggesting the U.S. Look into loan facilities to prevent these companies from defaulting. Given that this approach was not successful previously there has been discussion about how this strategy does not necessarily make sense. In a report from Foreign Policy news, Sergei Guriev, a professor of economics at Sciences Po in Paris and former chief economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said “The only explanation is that it’s a miscalculation by people who don’t have a comprehensive analysis of the markets and don’t grasp how the American oil industry works.”

Impact for Russia

Russia will be taking a loss in money earnt from exports. Even if more oil is sold it will be at a lower price. This is a risk this will chip away at funds reserved for the growth of
Out of those involved Russia is well placed to cope if the low oil prices are set to continue for some as they are reported to have extensive reserves that can be called upon during this time. They have reported being able to tolerate a price of $25 – $30 per barrel for a 10 year period.
Russia’s ally Venezuela is expected to suffer during this period who is already under pressure from American sanctions.

Impact for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s response of cutting prices by 10 percent on Saturday and to follow with increasing its production is quite risky. Shares of the Saudi national oil company, Saudi Aramco dropped by more than 9 percent on Sunday. Commentators have predicted that Saudi Arabia has sufficient reserves to cope with a 4 year period at such low prices. While this step is seen as a play to increase market share it is believed that they hope it will be a relatively short standoff.

Saudi Arabia’s enemy Iran is likely to be negatively impacted during this period as it is an oil-based economy that has also been strained by US sanctions.

Global Impact

The impact of this will be wide reaching, hitting oil producing companies the hardest, but also developing countries as well. This obviously will add to the instability of the global economy and share market already under pressure from the impacts of coronavirus.

14 Mar – Potential shortages due to disrupted production and not freight

It appears more likely that any shortages in imported goods will come from disrupted production rather than freight. Tom Tsikouris, Australia Sales Manager said, “We have completed a comprehensive analysis of the situation through our international freight network and freight is doing fine. Well, sea freight is doing fine. That’s important as sea freight is the heavy lifter in the global supply chain.

Sea freight can pick up most of the slack as air freight capacity plummets

Travel bans are now in place for many countries. This list of countries is likely to expand and will significantly reduce air freight capacity. The majority of the air cargo carried globally is transported within passenger jets – not cargo planes. So travel bans have the potential to bring air freight close to complete stop. But this is not a major threat to global supply chains.

Businesses largely use sea freight. This mode is slower but far more cost effective and accounts for 80% of the freight volume. A significant part of air cargo can be transferred to sea freight if the delays are planned and accepted. Situations where sea freight is not practical, like perishable goods, will result in shortages. However, many of these commodities would not threaten public safety if their supply was to be temporarily unavailable.

Shortages likely to come from worker absenteeism and factory quarantine

Shortages of many goods are more likely to come from a lack of production within countries that are our major importing partners. If a large part of their labour force is unable to work due to illness (or fear of becoming ill) and factories getting quarantined.

This is exactly what has happened in China and the effect has been noticeable. Sea freight is almost operating as normal but the lack of production is the true problem in the global supply chain. China appears to be back to about 50% production and the drop has had an minor impact. If this was to continue and this drop was to spread to other major importing partners, then the impact would quickly become significant .

There is also the threat of shortages occurring if our major importing partners refuse to export certain commodities. This would be in order to make these goods available for their own people, such as medicine and pharmaceuticals.

Food shortages not expected from disruption to importing

Food and live animals make up only 5% of Australian imports. This is based on the value of imports and not volume. So it is difficult to quantify exactly what would happen if this supply was to stop. However, the value is small enough compared to other commodities that we do not expect any food shortages if importing were to be majorly disrupted.

Our major imports suggest what supplies might be disrupted

An overview of Australia’s major imports based on their value give an indication of what commodities are vulnerable to having their supply disrupted:

  • Crude and refined petroleum
  • Computers, telecommunication equipment and parts
  • Engineering and machinery including parts
  • Medicine and pharmaceuticals including veterinary supplies
  • Passenger and transport vehicles

The top four commodity (raw material) imports include:

  • Coffee
  • Diamonds
  • Gold
  • Petroleum

A disruption to the supply of gold, coffee and diamonds would not threaten public safety. Conversely, Australia currently imports for more than 90% of its fuel needs.

Our major trading partners include:

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Thailand
  • Singapore
  • Republic of Korea
  • UK
  • USA

Based on value approximately 60% of Australia’s imports in 2019 were sourced from countries in Asia. Europe represented 19.5% of imports and 13.6% of purchases came from North America.

What Australia imports from China

China’s major exports to Australia include:

  • Engineering equipment and services
  • Fuels that are petroleum based
  • Manufacturing equipment and services

Other exports are cars, computers, telecommunications equipment, delivery trucks and packaged medical goods.

What Australia imports from Republic of Korea
Korea’s major exports to Australia include:

  • Engineering equipment and services
  • Fuels that are petroleum based
  • Processed minerals
  • Vehicle and transport equipment

What Australia imports from Japan

Japan’s major exports to Australia include:

  • Engineering equipment and services
  • Fuels that are petroleum based
  • Processed minerals
  • Vehicles and transport equipment

What India exports to Australia

India’s major exports to Australia include:

  • Fuels that are petroleum based
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Processed minerals
  • Manufacturing equipment and services
  • Vehicles and transport equipment

What Australia imports from the USA

The major exports of the USA to Australia include:

  • Engineering equipment and services
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Vehicles and transport equipment

Minor imports that might have supply disrupted

Countries that are not a major import partner, such as Italy, should be expected to have only a minor impact if their supply of goods is disrupted. These include a broad range of categories such as:

  • Consumer goods
  • Food, Beverages and Tobacco products
  • Semi-processed goods
  • Machinery and mechanical parts
  • Manufactured products
  • Metal products
  • Textiles and apparel products
  • Transport equipment and services

12 Mar – Increasing flight bans and eCommerce add pressure on air freight

About half of the air cargo carried globally is transported within passenger jets not cargo planes and so the increase in flight bans will continue to place more pressure on freight providers despite showing a strong recovery so far.

Unsurprisingly, consumers are turning to online shopping services with retailers such as Amazon reporting increased demand. Freight services are expected to be in demand more than ever.

To contrast, getting freight out of China is looking good if you use sea freight. Of course it takes much longer than air freight (at least 14 days) but there are comparatively few restrictions in place. Many importers that use air freight will be possibly forced to adjust and change their supply chain to sea freight. If you need help with this or want to price check, get a free quote using our online quote calculator tool.

Comparing travel bans countries now have in place

Australia

Australia’s travel ban for China and Iran has been extended. Italy and South Korea have now been added. Restrictions to other countries are in place and will continue to be monitored.

United States

The United States has travel bans in place for China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Italy. Restrictions were already in place for Iran after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned US carriers from flying in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The FAA reported “heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the Middle East” as the driver behind this.

The US has now extended bans to add 26 countries within Europe known as the Schengen Area. This is considered higher risk due the ability for people to travel freely across countries within this area without the need to present a passport. This includes countries such as Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. There are exceptions to the ban allowing US citizens and permanent residents (and family) to return but any foreign nationals working in the US that are currently in this area will not be permitted to return at this stage. The restriction will be in place for 30 days and will then be reviewed.

Qatar

It is interesting to note that far more extensive bans are in place for other countries such as Qatar who have now announced a temporary ban as a preventative control measure for travellers arriving from the following 13 countries – Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria and Thailand.

India

On Wednesday 11 March India has increased flight bans in place with The Health Ministry of India announcing “All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN, international organisations, employment and project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020” and recommended that Indian citizens avoid non-essential travel abroad in an effort to prevent spread of COV-VID 19.

How much of an impact will this make?

The American Airlines Group has announced the following schedule changes due to the impact of coronavirus on demand for flights is April.

  • International capacity for the summer peak reduced by 10%
  • Trans-Pacific capacity reduced by 55%
  • Domestic capacity reduced by 8%

7 Mar – China back to 50 to 70% of production

At this point experts are cautioning that China’s recovery is more likely to be gradual recovery than a bounce back. The loss of container volumes in China is estimated to account for a 9% loss in global container volume. For China the key is maintaining control of spread in order to be able to allow employees to return to work and allow for the flow of production to the supply chain to resume. Freight providers are closely monitoring conditions in Korea and Japan daily, for now freight is not yet impacted.

Production in China

Reports of manufacturing within China vary between 50 to 70% of normal. Production levels are not expected to reach regular levels before mid-March.

Trucking and rail in China

Cross-border trucking has returned to normal operations with some backlog at Vietnamese Customs. Domestic trucking has improved since our last update. The pressure on road freight has eased within China and North Asia as restrictions and road closures are being lifted but conditions of entry are still in place such as quarantine, temperature checks and registration prior to arrival.

The majority of rail services have resumed and where block trains are impacted for March, space on public trains has been reserved as a countermeasure. There is some flow on effect to trucking prices due to the remaining 35% of block trains that have not yet resumed. Also many truck and train drivers remain in quarantine. Along with strict health checks, this is impacting trucking particularly for LCL trucking in Shanghai and Ningbo.

Know someone in Australia that needs help with sea and air freight from coronavirus disruption? Let them know we are happy to see how we can help

Know someone in Australia that needs help with sea and air freight from coronavirus disruption? Let them know we are happy to see how we can help. Feel free to send us a message.

26 Feb – China struggling to restart production and transport

Many factories remain closed because many workers have not returned to work yet and many factories do not comply with the hygiene requirements. Many large exporters, including OEMs, are not immediately resuming full production either due to manpower shortage, in response to or as a precaution to ensure quarantine measures for returning workers. Based on preliminary assessments, an estimated 30% of major suppliers remain closed. Major OEMs indicate the delay to reach full production could last well into March.

Domestic trucking

All trucking companies are operating in all ports mainly within city limits. Services outside these areas are very restricted. A shortage of drivers and road restrictions continue to impact domestic trucking. There is an estimated 65% shortage of drivers due to travel and quarantine restrictions. Domestic trucking is further complicated by provincial highway closures and significant waiting time at toll gateways due to increased health and permit checks.

Cross border trucking

Cross-border trucking between China and Vietnam has resumed. There is currently a three to four day backlog on the border to Vietnam. Cross-border services between China and Hong Kong are unaffected by the mandatory quarantine imposed by Hong Kong since 8 Feb. Drivers are permitted to cross the border and return without being quarantined.

Biggest containment of people in history

The provinces of Hubai, Anhui and Zhejiang remain closed until further notice. This containment affects approximately 180 million people. The situation is changing everyday.

22 Feb – Global sea freight NOT seriously affected

Sea freight companies shipping from China have reduced the number of available ships. Some major news channels have said this is because they are trying to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. However, these reductions were all announced prior to the new year and a natural part of the China New Year cycle. It has also been suggested that Apple issued a profit warning for the next quarter due to impacts from the coronavirus but this is possibly from a growing decline in demand for Apple products.

18 Feb – Calm before the storm in freight

We seem to have a “calm before the storm” and that a high influx of cargo after production increases will lead to space shortages. However, it seems that only some factories have been able to fire up again with many workers quarantined and parts in short supply. It is at this point hard to predict how the situation will develop as it is unclear if the spread of the virus can be controlled enough to “return to normal” and when that would happen.

Feb 14 – Current factory output is estimated to be only at about 20%.

The spread of the virus was seen as stabilised over the last few days, but a sudden spike in reported infections and casualties in China increased the numbers previously published dramatically. Our reports from in China say that many factories have reopened after the expended holidays but are unable to operate at normal capacity as many workers have not been able to return from their hometowns due to travel restrictions and quarantine regulations, the current factory output is estimated to be only at about 20%.

The Coronavirus from China is having a major impact on the freight industry globally. This notice is subject to change at any time. Follow us on social media to be notified of future updates.

Get the latest on our "Coronavirus sea freight Australia update 2020" and "Coronavirus air freight Australia update 2020" news

Get the latest on our “Coronavirus sea freight Australia update 2020” and “Coronavirus air freight Australia update 2020” news

Coronavirus air freight Australia update 2020

From late January, air freight from China to and from Australia had been seriously affected. This was due to the Coronavirus. We recorded the major events for February and March.

1 Apr – Air freight situation stable

From April, the international freight situation has stabilised and we are operating effectively. Feel free to contact us online and send a message, or message us on Facebook if you need any help.

19 Mar – Air freight is now becoming very expensive

Travel bans have almost eliminated all air freight capacity as a majority of air freight is carried by passenger flights. With demand remaining and increasing in some commodities, the decrease in supply is forcing prices up. It is expected that some air freight will be routed via airports that are still open but located further away. The increased travel and handling will increase costs. Also the Australian dollar has been losing value against the US dollar , further increasing costs. All these factors are making air freight is now becoming very expensive.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) asks for help

The IATA has highlighted the importance of airfreight during pandemic. Already this association has assisted by delivering medical equipment, time sensitive and perishable cargo. “This has been done through dedicated cargo freighter operations, utilisation of cargo capacity in passenger aircraft and with relief flights to affected areas.” said the IATA.

The IATA is appealing to governments to:

  • Exclude air cargo operations from travel restrictions
  • Implement standardised measures globally to reduce disruptions
  • Exempt air cargo crew members, who do not interact with the public, from 14-day quarantine requirements;
  • Support temporary traffic rights for cargo operations where restrictions may apply;
  • Remove charges such overfly charges, parking fees, and slot restrictions to support air cargo operations during these unprecedented times

They are stressing that keeping these channels moving can save lives.

14 Mar – Flight bans continue to reduce air freight capacity from China

Wuhan airport is still closed but all other Chinese airports are open and operational. As predicted the flight bans in place from external countries to China have resulted in capacity on commercial flights being severely affected.

Air freight between Europe and China is affected by the reduction in the number of flights operating. Korea to China has been affected as the outbreak has spread quickly in recent weeks.

Travel bans from coronavirus to continue to affect air freight in Australia

Travel bans from coronavirus to continue to affect air freight in Australia

7 Mar – All Chinese airports operational apart from Wuhan and Hefei

Inbound air freight capacity is under pressure and air freight rates to China still appear to be rising. Causes include continued cancelled passenger flights that affect some intra-Asia trade routes. This results in trucking being used. The air terminals themselves are experiencing delays to delivery and pickup due to the limited manpower available at air terminals and for trucking. All airports in mainland China are operational apart from Wuhan and Hefei.

Status of air freight to and from Wuhan and Hefei

All flights to and from Wuhan are suspended until 31 March. All long haul flights are from Hefei are suspended until further notice. Reports are that greater than 6,200 tonnes of capacity is no longer available due to the number of cancelled flights and it is expected that as more production resumes in China the availability of outbound airfreight will also be impacted.

Current air freight rates from China to Australia

Prices have more than doubled. Normally air freight from Shanghai to Sydney is around $2.00 USD per kg. Earliest availability of air freight at these rates to Australia is via Perth is not until 15 March. So people need to get book orders ASAP. In the meantime, we currently we have the following options available:

Option 1 – $5.49 USD per kg (direct)
Routing: PVG-SYD
Frequency: Tue, Thu and Sat
Transit time: Takes about two days to finish

Option 2 – $4.88 USD per kg
Routing: PVG-CAN-SYD
1st leg daily
2nd leg next week will be Mon, Wed, Fri or Sun
Transit time: Take about for to five days to finish the goods

Option 3 – $5.03 USD per kg
Routing: PVG-NRT-SYD
1st leg: Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri and Sat
2nd leg: Wed, Thu or Fri
Transit time: Take about six to seven days to finish the goods

These are current rates however we have heard there will probably be more increases next week. These rates can be used to make an approximate costing. Any quotes would be finalised when orders to move goods via air are confirmed.

Know someone in Australia that needs help with sea and air freight from coronavirus disruption? Let them know we are happy to see how we can help

Know someone in Australia that needs help with sea and air freight from coronavirus disruption? Let them know we are happy to see how we can help. Feel free to send us a message.

26 Feb – Smooth restart despite shortage of workers and rising numerous flight cancellations and rates

We encourage importers to communicate demand forecasts for airfreight so the freight industry can best support them through this period of volatility. Airport operations appear to be restoring in a slow and smooth fashion however challenges are expected as volumes pick up due to shortage of workers.

Shanghai Airport (PVG)

A severe impact to service level and operating efficiency is expected at Shanghai (PVG) airport as stringent rules for workers returning from holidays have been implemented. Stringent restrictions for carriage in to and out of the Shanghai province are expected to further impact cargo flow of the airport.

Rising numerous flight cancellation and rates

There have been almost 7,500 outbound flight cancellations, however operations are being restored in a slow and smooth fashion. Outbound rates have been rising in the short-term. The slowdown in production over the last few weeks has increased air freight capacity. However, growing pressure on outbound capacity will likely increase and drive market rates up.

Capacity and rates varies according to region

Outbound air freight capacity is largely available at this time although more than 5,000 tons of daily capacity has been taken out of the market. In North China (BJS/TSN), freighter capacity is being restored. In central China (PVG) capacity management appears unstructured. These circumstances are expected to persist for another week or two after which rates are expected to rise significantly. Capacity in south China (HKG) is being adjusted to meet demand so rates have remained relatively stable. However, rates out of HKG are expected to increase significantly as production in Guangdong province is restored.

22 Feb – Imported air freight agriculture products to China seriously affected but NOT A BIG DEAL

Most perishable goods in agriculture products require air freight. So it’s no surprise that agriculture exporters are being affected by a lack of airfreight capacity due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, this is a small part of the global economy and not expected to have much of an overall impact.

  • British Airways has continued to cancel all services to and from China for the remainder of February.
  • DHL has said there still remain severe disruptions to air freight shipments, trucking and rail services.
  • IAG Cargo has also cancelled all China services to the start of March.

Logistical issues affecting China are expected to ripple outward to Taiwan and neighbouring countries. Taiwan has had air freight disrupted despite no new quarantine restrictions on imported agricultural products or freight.

18 Feb – Some airlines struggling to stay afloat as others cancel flights till 24 April

Some airlines (Hong Kong Airlines) are facing having to axe hundreds in order to stay afloat, being unable to supply air freight from Coronavirus restrictions from a in passenger demand. The majority of air freight is actually transported using the belly of passenger aircraft. Other airlines are extending the cancellation of flights. American Airlines has cancelled all flights to China and Hong Kong until 24 April.

14 Feb – China demand for medicals drives return to schedule next week

Most international passenger air service has been suspended, which has a big impact on available belly space. Most freighter services are hopeful they will be able to return to regular schedules as next week. This is especially due to the large demand of inbound space for medical equipment into China.

12 Feb – Bracing for air freight space shortages

Australian forwarders are bracing for air freight space shortage as services are set to resume from 1 Mar. Demand is set to spike and capacity has been cut from China and Hong Kong due to the collapse of passenger demand from the coronavirus. Surge volumes are expected as many factories as possible try to resume production after the extended New Year holiday used to help contain the spread of the coronavirus in China.

5 Feb – Air freight delayed until 1 Mar

Most airline carriers have ceased importing and exporting to and from China up until 1 March.

Coronavirus update Australia news on air freight delays

Coronavirus update Australia news on air freight delays

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Get more Coronavirus updates on Australian air freight and news on airfreight delays

Get more Coronavirus updates on Australian air freight and news on airfreight delays

Coronavirus sea freight Australia update 2020

Australian sea freight to and from China was majorly impacted by the Coronavirus from late January. We recorded the major events for February and March.

1 Apr – Sea freight situation stable

From April, the international freight situation has stabilised and we are operating effectively. Feel free to contact us online and send a message, or message us on Facebook if you need any help.

19 Mar – Most ports require ships to stay at sea for minimum 14 days

Most ports around the world are now requiring ships to stay at sea for a minimum of 14 days for being allowed to berth.

Not major impact of sea freight

Although this sounds dramatic, it does affect sea freight. Many major sea routes are longer than 14 days.

Mar 14 – Sea freight from China has only few restrictions left

Getting freight out of China is looking good if you use sea freight. Freight is still recommended to bypass Wuhan redirecting to Jingzhou or Shanghai for the short term. All other ports are operating with minor delays.

Australia and Vietnam are maintaining a 14-day quarantine restriction for vessels passing through or leaving from China if travel time is less than this. Singapore is preventing Chinese crews from boarding on arrival. Apart from this there are no other restrictions on sea freight from China.

Export from South Korea to China is experiencing cancellations and alterations to sea routes.

Mar 7 – Chinese sea ports operational but port volumes down 30%

Ports in mainland China, Japan and Korea are operational. Port volumes have fallen approximately 30% with more than 100 sailings cancelled in February. Reports of issues in space for container storage in China and limited access to electricity for refrigerated containers have been communicated. Ships are being used as a temporary measure to enable sufficient points of electrical supply is available to maintain temperature control of stock.
Advice is that most sea-freight is being managed to avoid delays. There is some reduction in efficiency due to manpower but please ensure that you obtain pre-approval if you are transporting Reefer and Dangerous Goods containers. This will ensure that there is adequate space for your stock. Congestion surcharges may apply.

Reduction in sea freight capacity will disrupt global supply chains

China holds seven of the top ten mega container ports in the world with Singapore and South Korea each having a mega container port as well. With 80% of all goods by volume carried by sea, the recent reduction in sea freight supply capacity is starting to disrupt global supply chains.

Know someone in Australia that needs help with sea and air freight from coronavirus disruption? Let them know we are happy to see how we can help

Know someone in Australia that needs help with sea and air freight from coronavirus disruption? Let them know we are happy to see how we can help. Feel free to send us a message.

26 Feb – Sea freight is working with 25% reduced capacity

Ocean carriers have begun implementing extra blank sailings, reducing TPEB capacity by 25% and CN-EU capacity by as much as 60%. We have received from our Chinese agent and our offices the following update of the status of their offices and operations.

Dalian

Office is open and operational. Some team members are working in the office, others are working from home. Warehouses have returned to operation, however a one day advanced appointment is required before delivery, they close at 5pm due to lack of workers. Trucking companies have resumed but have long transit time due to lack of drivers with services being limited and becoming very expensive. The port is open and operational. Most carriers have resumed working with some team members in the office. Many carriers have introduced blank sailings.

Guangzhou

Office is open and operational with all team members working in the office. Warehouses and trucking companies are operating as usual. The port is open and operational. Most carriers have resumed working in the office with full staff. Many carriers have introduced blank sailings.

Hong Kong

Office is open and operational with all team members working in the office. Warehouses and trucking companies are operating as usual. The ports are open and operational. Carriers are operating as usual.

Ningbo

Office is open and operational, some team members are working in the office, others are working from home. All team members returned to the office as of 24 Feb. Warehouses have returned to operation, however one day advanced appointment is required before delivery, they close at 5pm due to lack of workers. Trucking companies have resumed but have long transit time due to lack of drivers with services being limited and becoming very expensive. The port is open and operational. Most carriers have resumed working with some team members in the office. Many carriers have introduced blank sailings

Qingdao

Office is open and operational with all team members working in the office. Warehouses and trucking companies are operating as usual. The ports are open and operational. Most carriers have resumed working in the office with full staff. Many carriers have introduced blank sailings.

Shanghai

Office is open and operational with 60% of the team members working in the office. The others are working from home. The entire staff is expected to return on 2 March. Warehouses have returned to operation, however a one day advanced appointment is required before delivery, most of them close at 5 pm due to lack of workers. Some warehouses are working through the night. Trucking companies have resumed but have long transit time due to lack of drivers with services being limited and becoming very expensive. The ports are open and operational. Most carriers have resumed working with some team members in the office. Many Carriers have introduced blank sailings.

Shenzhen

Office has been open and operational since 24 Feb. Some team members are working in the office while the remainder work from home. Warehouses have returned to operation, however one a day advanced appointment is required before delivery, they close at 5pm due to lack of workers. Trucking companies have resumed but have long transit time due to lack of drivers with services being limited and becoming very expensive. The ports are open and operational. Most carriers have resumed working with some of their staff working in their offices. Many carriers have introduced blank sailings.

Taipei

Office is open and operational with all team members working in the office. Warehouses and trucking companies are operating as usual. The ports are open and operational. Carriers are operating as usual.

Tianjing

The local government has not allowed work to resume. All team members are working from home. Warehouses have returned to operation, however one a day advanced appointment is required before delivery, they close at 5 pm due to lack of workers. Trucking companies have resumed but have long transit time due to lack of drivers with services being limited and becoming very expensive. The ports are open and operational. The carriers have not opened their offices and all of their staff are working from home. Many carriers have introduced blank sailings.

Xiamen

Office is open and operational with all team members working in the office. Warehouses have returned to operation, however one a day advanced appointment is required before delivery, they close at 5 pm due to lack of workers. Trucking companies have resumed but have long transit time due to lack of drivers with services being limited and becoming very expensive. The ports are open and operational. Most carriers have resumed working with some team members in the office. Many carriers have introduced blank sailings.

22 Feb – Main Chinese ports are CRANKING

Sea freight is up and going. There are some upcoming blanket sailings of main seaports (reduction of services), this is due to carriers wanting ships to travel with full loads. For example, say there are usually four vessels from Ningbo that travel to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in a week. Then for this week they had only two ships leave. But these reductions were all announced prior to the new year and a natural part of the China New Year cycle.

LCL and FCL services have resumed from this week for these major ports:

  • Ningbo
  • Shanghai
  • Shenzhen
  • Qingdao
  • Xiamen
  • Xingang

18 Feb – Shipping from South China return to normal from 20 Feb

Our man on the ground in China reports that shipping will resume and be operating normally in South China from 20 Feb. The situation is tricky as he and many others are still having to work from home and not able to attend the office.

Fuzhou

FCL and LCL is OK now

Ningbo

Has planned sailings cutting off this week

Qingdao

Has planned sailings cutting off this week

Shanghai

Has planned sailings cutting off this week

Shenzhen

FCL and LCL is OK now

14 Feb – Trucking inter-city difficulties and warehouses partially restarted

Current main difficulties are for container loading and trucking. Trucking companies can provide the service within cities or provinces but cannot transport to other cities or provinces. Due to the virus prevention and control policy, labourers are in shortage including truck drivers and depots workers. It is unknown when the situation will change but it has been suggested that it will take one to two weeks to return to normal.

Warehouses have opened, most with limited staffing, but operational.

12 Feb – Sea freight partially restarted

This is the latest news from our leading agent in China. Overall, FCL seems to be coming back to normal quickly, but LCL will take longer because most factories have not yet returned to work. There is still very strict isolation in most of China. The Coronavirus is not yet controlled. This week is a very important time to stop its expansion. Sea freight is partially restarted, with the status in following cities:

Xingang

FCL is OK. LCL not available until late next week.

Shanghai

FCL is OK, but some vessels will not return to work until next week. LCL is starting to accept goods now, but there are very few sailing schedules available because most factories have not yet returned to work.

Ningbo

FCL is partly OK. Some vessels are having problems, and some are not yet back at work. Services might be completely restored by next week. LCL is not available at present because most factories have not yet returned to work. LCL trucking is OK, but some roads to Ningbo from other cities are restricted.

Shenzhen

FCL will be OK from early next week. LCL is OK now, but there will be cancellations on some sailing schedules because there are not enough goods to ship.

5 Feb – Sea freight delayed up to 14 days

Ships that have called at China and are calling at NSW port will not be allowed to berth for a minimum of 14 days. Ships that left China on or after 1 February will be held back from berthing until 14 days have elapsed from departure for all other Australian ports.

Coronavirus update Australia news on sea freight delays

Coronavirus update Australia news on sea freight delays

Keep up-to-date on our Coronavirus sea freight Australia update 2020

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Get more Coronavirus updates on Australian sea freight and news on shipping delays

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Coronavirus China lockdown status and other countries

19 Mar – Europe in lockdown

The 30-day entry ban will not affect Europeans going home or cross-border workers. UK citizens are also not affected by it because an interim Brexit deal still ties the UK to EU rules. Individual European governments have begun erecting patrols to stop citizens from other countries from entering. The ban specifically covers all EU states as well as countries within the Schengen border-free zone, including Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

14 Mar – Italy joins China in lockdown

Italy imposed a national quarantine on the entire country from 9 March. This lockdown restricts the movement of the population except for necessity, work, and health circumstances. This will result in Italy being travel banned by other countries.

Restrictions in Hubei province

The majority of rail services have now resumed easing the demand for trucking services. Space available is still very limited due to the backlog of stock awaiting transportation. Wuhan terminal remains closed until further notice.

Hubei province still has restrictions in place for couriers and transport companies. In other areas trucking has resumed to normal service levels. Demand remains high with prices still sitting approximately 20% higher than usual rates.

Cross border trucking is up and running to standard levels from South China to Hong Kong.

7 Mar – Wuhan still locked down

Wuhan remains locked down apart from relief deliveries.

26 Feb – Biggest containment in history

The provinces of Hubei, Anhui and Zhejiang remain closed until further notice. This containment affects approximately 180 million people. It is not known at this stage when this will be lifted.

5 Feb – Wuhan and Hubei locked down until 9 Feb

The Wuhan and Hubei governments are, at this stage, in lockdown, and there is every possibility that the lockdown may extend beyond 9 February.

Help with your Australian freight affected by Coronavirus?

We are specialists in forwarding freight to and from Australia and may be able to assist if your freight has been affected by the Coronavirus. Our air and sea freight network to and from Australia has approximately 40,000 locations. We give genuine advice and are completely transparent with our quotes, having no hidden costs. Feel free to contact us online and send a message, or message us on Facebook.


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