We are being asked by many of our customers how the Covid19 Coronavirus is affecting operations at K&L Freight and the wider international transport industry.
We can advise the following:
Sea freight services are not directly affected by the virus, ships, ports and local transport; for both full load and part load deliveries and collections are operating more or less normally.
International transport is considered by the government a key service and so has government approval to operate, subject to complying with rules regarding operation and social distancing.
The consequence the lock down is having on business has meant volumes are now well below normal levels and around 30% of scheduled container ship services have been cancelled.
It is therefore quite normal for delays of a week or so in transit.
Rates have not been affected as capacity has been reduced in line with demand.
Between 80 – 90 % of freight normally moves on wide body passenger scheduled services.
As these are hardly operating at all on most routes and the world’s freighter fleet has been in long term decline, the market is in complete turmoil.
Airlines have cancelled all contract rates and are selling whatever space is available to the highest bidder using a spot rate process.
They advise that as they are all in financial difficulty they need all the money they can get.
Rates are therefore spiking especially where there is huge demand. This particularly applies to airfreight from China to all markets as huge volumes of PPE are being booked along with a 80-90% reduction in available capacity.
The result is an unprecedented situation with prices changing more or less daily. As a guide, rates are four – eight times higher than were available earlier this year.
Please consider sea freight from China unless you absolutely have to use airfreight – and even then consider splitting orders and sending a minimum by air and balance by sea.
International Road freight
All services are operating, with some delays mainly due to problems at borders and departures being reduced in line with lack of demand.
K&L Freight continue to provide a full service with many staff working from home and essential staff only at work, who are strictly following social distancing regulations.
We urge all customers who have shipments in transit with us to keep communicating with us.
We understand many businesses have taken the decision to close their businesses in full or in part for the time being, but it is essential that you consider what will happen when your shipment arrives at port or airport.
We would prefer that you open your premises even if just to accept deliveries from ourselves.
If this is not possible please talk to us about alternative arrangements – we do have warehouse space set aside to receive and store shipments as a contingency.
Your usual contact at K&L Freight can advise you as necessary if you wish to use this service.
Please do not consider that because you are closed and it is a national emergency, ports or airline transit sheds will provide free or discounted storage until this emergency is over.
This is absolutely not the case.
If we cannot contact you regarding delivery to your premises or successful alternative delivery and storage arrangements we will have no choice but to leave shipments at ports or airports.
Both Felixstowe and Southampton ports have stated they will apply their full rent and demurrage rates irrespective of this situation.
They are a transit operation and do not have facilities to store and are fearful of a log jam being created which would impact on their ability to operate.
The same applies for export shipments. Please make sure if you make a booking that your customer will be open to accept it.
If your shipment gets to destination and your customer is closed and so delivery is aborted it is very likely the re-delivery and associated storage and handling costs would be for the account of the sender.