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,
As you may have read in the national press there are currently problems at Felixstowe port.
Felixstowe is by far the biggest container port in the UK, handling around a half of all the UK container imports, handling container ships to and from China, the Far East and Indian sub-continent in particular. So when there is a problem at Felixstowe port it quickly becomes a whole container industry problem.
The current congestion levels are causing up to 15 containerships at a time to be queued up to unload at Felixstowe.
We are in constant contact with our customers who import from China, Malaysia and Vietnam in particular and thought it worthwhile sharing with you the latest news and trends regarding importing by container and importing by air from China
Chinese Public Holidays
It is important to know that China has two major extended public holidays. Chinese New Year, which is well known and occurs in the spring time. Then there is Golden Week,
Many of our customers are wondering what is happening in the world of container shipping, specifically importing full containers and also part container loads from China and what effects COVID19 is having on shipping.
Container Shipping & International Shipping
The good news is that COVID 19 restrictions have not applied to international container shipping and in fact all international transport is normally except from such restrictions so on the face of it COVID19 should have had no effect.
As you may have read, or even heard, the UK Government is now turning its attention to all matters Brexit related. This includes imports into the UK.
Whilst the UK has left the European Union already, there are going to be major changes, challenges and opportunities as we leave the Customs Union on the 31 December 2020. Then our relationship with Europe is severed.
What does Brexit mean for imports into the UK?
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.
If you have been trying to get PPE into the UK you may have already discovered the complexities and issues surrounding this process. There is an obvious massive demand for PPE equipment – masks, face shields, gloves, protective equipment etc in the UK at the moment with a lack of supplies.
With social distancing being common place and retail shops and industry starting up again in June, this demand is going to increase.
Shipping From China
It’s a long way from China to the UK, 7775 km if you were able to go direct. However, most freight making the journey ends up in a container making the 30 / 40 day transit on the back of a container ship.
The routing the vessel takes has massive implications on the time taken to arrive to the UK along with the emissions produced.
The usual route heading through the Gulf of Aden and then using the Suez Canal as a way into the Med cuts out ten days sailing and around 9000 km,
As more or less everyone in the UK knows, a lack of PPE has dominated the news in the UK for weeks now.
There are huge logistical challenges in getting PPE from China to the UK as most regular flights have now been grounded, leaving the few freighter aircraft in use to operate along with a selection of passenger aircraft that are carrying cargo only at the present time.
This in no way amounts to a normal service with 95% of British Airways’ planes still grounded as an example.
Considerations When Importing PPE From china
It is becoming clear that there will be an ongoing need for all PPE products through most of this year and maybe beyond.
Whilst there is a big push on UK production of these items, with the vast need caused by the changing of PPE multiple times per day and the run-down of the UK’s manufacturing ability, it’s clearly obvious that there will be an ongoing requirement to import these items for the foreseeable future.