Whilst demand for PPE has never been greater, especially for gloves and masks imports, there is now more airline space than bookings. Therefore prices have gone down by two thirds since the COVID-19 crisis started, making air freight a cheap option.
Are you enjoying the cheap, reduced rates that are now in the market?
It is still the case that passenger flights are still few and far between. The way that the majority of the world’s air cargo used to moved was in passenger planes. This method lowered the cost of air freight, as the cargo was subsidised by paying passengers.
There are still very few dedicated cargo planes in operation, which was the original cause of the rate spike in March. Rates started to fall as dedicated ‘passenger freighters’ – passenger planes with the seats taken out – were rushed into service.
June 2020 Air freight Prices
Thankfully as of June 2020, air freight rates became cheap and continued to fall as passenger flights have been taking to the air again and in fact there are enough in service now that the ‘passenger freighters’ are starting to have their seats put back in place as normal service slowly starts to resume.
K&L Freight are monitoring the prices of air freight daily and are on top of the very latest developments.
Other freight options for PPE
The demand for PPE, masks and gloves especially is clearly going to continue and most probably increase in the coming months, especially as there are now UK regulations in place for masks to worn by the general public – on public transport in particular.
So the question is then how is all the PPE moving from China and the Far East now?
We are seeing some PPE is moving by sea and the cost of sea freight is a fraction of airfreight and per mask is in fact almost immeasurable!
It is important to bear in mind though that with the airfreight price reducing recently the price by air is typically 3-4 pence per item if sent in bulk. So it begs the question that if sea freight relies on sending in bulk, hundreds of thousands or even millions of items at a time, is it sensible to have this level of stock in transit for at least a month, maybe more?
It is not just about cash being tied up in stock that is in transit, as Chinese suppliers invariably never give credit so want payments made up front. What happens if a big order is hooked, only for the customer to be told that there is an extended lead time whilst items come into stock?
Freight by train
We are also receiving many enquiries regarding using train services from China as this is seen as some sort of magic bullet, nearly as quick as air freight and almost as cheap as sea freight.
The rail service is far cheaper than sending by air, this is true, but it is not a ‘bit’ more expensive than sending by ship, it is in fact about three / four times the price.
Looking at transit times the rail service is not a ‘bit’ slower then sending by air. The transit time is about 20 days. Furthermore, the train leaves from the middle of China, not the coastal region where most factories are.
Trains from China then normally terminate in Germany, as there is no direct service to the UK meaning UK destined containers have to be forwarded on and this takes a number of days.
The real world door/door transit time for a container sent by train, compared to one sent by sea can be as little as two days difference, though it does vary depending on the location of your supplier.
If you are interested in the train option from China or want to know how each mode of transport compares in terms of transit time versus price K&L Freight are here to advise.
Contact our team of air freight experts to discuss the best way to get your imports to your selected destination. We have been working with our clients for many years and have the solutions to import PPE in a timely, cost effective manner.