Following on from our previous blog post regarding congestion at UK ports and Felixstowe in particular, we are now seeing an increase in demand from China for shipping line space.
Container Shipping Capacity In 2020
Throughout 2020 there have been cuts to container shipping capacity worldwide and from China in particular as shipping lines match supply to demand. Although demand has increased recently, it is neither easy nor straightforward for shipping lines to add additional ships, especially at short notice. It is anticipated that there will be a severe shortage of container capacity on ships from China to Europe especially, which will only ease after the Chinese New Year which starts in January 2021.
Plan Shipping In Advance
It is important to plan ahead and book container space at least 14 days prior to a ship departing, if possible. Many carriers are imposing surcharges due to this peak season, or, alternatively increasing their basic freight rate. On top of this you should expect to see congestion surcharges from Mid-November, as shipping lines seek to recover their costs for ships queuing to dock at congested UK ports – as per our previous news article.
Slow Unloading At Ports
We are also experiencing slower unloading of ships at UK, primarily due to restrictions on staff working due to the current pandemic. This means you should allow extra time from the ship arriving, to you receiving your container, or part load delivery. You may notice delays of between two and five days.
Air freight is seeing a similar surge and as normally the majority of airfreight flies on passenger aircraft, (most of which are still not operating) there are also delays and rate increases as the backlog builds up. It may be the case that the sea freight situation is causing some imports into the UK to divert from sea freight to air freight and we hear (for example), Apple have decided to send all production by air for the time being, including their new iphone12. Therefore please prepare for longer transit times than you may have expected as well as increases in prices, at least in the short term.