The COVID-19 pandemic, port congestion and equipment shortages have meant supply chains across the globe have faced unprecedented challenges over the last year. Now, following the recent Suez Canal blockage, the world’s largest ports are preparing themselves for further congestion, with as much as 1.9m TEU of cargo expected to be affected.

At such a difficult time, it is more crucial than ever before for businesses to work with a partner who can provide a varied portfolio of alternative solutions. Global Product and Development Director Lee Alderman-Davis, who heads up Ligentia’s Product Development team, is leading the way in ensuring Ligentia has one such portfolio.

With many businesses struggling at this time, Lee offers a deeper insight into sea-air services and their benefits…

The Importance of Sea-Air

For some time now, we have been seeing relentlessly high air freight rates and a severe lack of capacity.

There has been very little in the way of recovery in the passenger market and airlines are charging higher rates to make operations financially viable. Capacity is constrained too, with the UK importing millions of Covid test kits, an increase in hi-tech imports, ecommerce and retailers looking to replenish their stocks. Additionally, the effects of the Suez Canal blockage mean that any spare capacity is unlikely to be around for long.

Sea freight would be the first alternative in this situation, but between port congestion, lack of equipment and the incident with the Ever Given, the market remains heavily disrupted. The ripple effects of the blockage are expected to be felt until at least July, and Maersk have reported that it will lead to loss of capacity between 20-30% in the coming weeks.

The result? More businesses are considering combining the two modes to get the best of both worlds – low-cost ocean transport, and high-speed air.

Sea-Air Advantages

Ligentia’s sea-air product has a number of great benefits.

By combining the sea and air modes, you can save 30-40% of ocean transit time – so it’s a much speedier solution – and with virtually guaranteed transit times, it’s very reliable. Providing total control at origin, we also ensure our customers receive priority loading. They are the last container to be loaded and the first to be off loaded. With a fast turnaround in Dubai and a flight directly to Heathrow or Europe, sea-air services are extremely agile and incredibly simple.

Avoiding Suez Canal-Driven Disruption

Sea-air services are a great solution for navigating the disruption caused by the Ever Given. We offer priority loading onto vessels, a short transit time to Dubai, fast turnaround and then straight onto a flight to destination.

Below are just some examples of the origins we now offer the sea-air product on, including Chittagong, Shenzhen, Mumbai, Penang, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh:

Customer Support

Right now, our teams are working closely with our customers to find the solutions that best suit their needs. As a service provider, it’s our responsibility to find alternatives for customers – and with disruption expected for at least another few months, it’s going to be an ongoing process.

Our dedicated team of sea-air experts are in place and ready to support businesses who will be able to benefit from multimodal shipping.

If you would like to find out more about our sea-air services and discuss your requirements, please get in touch. We’re here to help!

The UK government has announced its decision to delay the introduction of post-Brexit import checks by six months.

Checks were originally due to be introduced from 1 April and from 1 July. However, following weeks of concern that the introduction of new formalities would result in the collapse of supply chains and product shortages, these delays have been introduced to give hauliers and businesses more time to adapt.

In a statement to the House of Commons, the minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove said:

“Although we recognise many businesses have been investing time and energy to be ready on time, and indeed we in government were confident of being ready on time, we have listened to businesses that have made a strong case that they need more time to prepare.”

He also added that the disruption that has been caused by COVID was a key factor in the government’s decision, highlighting the need to ensure the UK economy is able to recover fully.

Pre-notification requirements for products of animal origin (POAOs), certain animal by-products (ABPs) and high-risk food not of animal origin, as well as export health certificates for POAOs and ABPS, will now be implemented in October instead of April. Control procedures originally scheduled for 1 July and the deferred declaration scheme will not come into force until January 1 2022.

Road Haulage Association (RHA) Chief Executive Richard Burnett welcomes the decision and says the announcement will buy extra time for hauliers who are still dealing with the additional red tape that has beset them since the end of the transition period. He has, however, raised some concerns about whether operators will even be ready by October 1 due to a shortage of skilled customs agents and veterinarians across the EU to complete the relevant documentation.

“Despite these reservations, I am pleased that Mr Gove and his team have acknowledged the many challenges currently being faced by British hauliers and traders and we look forward to working with government to resolve the issues.”

We are delighted to announce that Ligentia has been ranked in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. The Track 200 league table has been running for over a decade and ranks Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales, measured over the latest two years of available accounts.

What’s more, Ligentia was one of only six supply chain management and logistics companies to make it into the top 200.

In 2019, our international sales hit £55.6 million, resulting in an average international sales growth of 31.69% pa. Last year, 2020, we also recorded revenues of c. £300 million, further demonstrating our strong year-on-year growth, which we expect to continue.

Recent investment from Equistone Partners Europe Limited (“Equistone”) will support us in continuing to deliver our ambitious growth plans and will enable the enhanced development of Ligentix, our proprietary customer technology platform.

Speaking regarding the investment and Ligentix, Ligentia CEO Nick Jones said:

“Our significant investment in our technology platform means we have been able to not only maintain our service to customers but deliver some substantial change in the way we work. That investment has positioned Ligentia at the forefront of change in our sector. Our new partnership with Equistone will allow increased investment in our business at a time where there is a considerable awareness of global supply chains and the risks that organisations face without the right visibility systems and partners.”

As supply chains across the world navigate the disruption caused by both COVID and the current new Brexit regulations, Chinese New Year is the third area that needs further consideration.

More and more shippers have announced they will be manufacturing through the holiday as the Chinese government discourages workers from travelling home due to the surging Covid cases in many parts of China. This could create backlogs during CNY as large numbers of freighter flights have been cancelled weeks ago. Post CNY, the market is expected to be robust as a result of inventory replenishment and an ocean market that will continue to be heavily congested. The impact on yields is still unclear, but we anticipate rates staying at a higher level as we close out Q1.

Our Ligentia teams are assisting customers by operating charter flights to avoid any disruption in service over this period.

How will Chinese New Year be different in 2021?

With social distancing guidelines and travel restrictions in place, and with many public events already having been cancelled, there is little doubt that 2021’s Chinese New Year will feel very different. Nevertheless, people are still very much looking forward to the celebrations, with meeting up with friends and cooking their own Chinese New Year feasts high on the agenda.

“Things are very different, but we are still looking forward to celebrating Chinese New Year,” says Sally Hu, Ligentia’s HR Business Partner in China. “The whole family normally gather together to celebrate, and many people will be unable to return to their hometowns to do this, which is naturally disappointing. But we are finding new ways to celebrate, such as gathering with friends locally!”

A traditional Chinese New Year

Traditions for celebrating Chinese New Year vary widely between different regions and countries. Nevertheless, under normal circumstances you might expect:

  • Reunion Dinners: Chinese New Year is a time for family and friends. Many people travel long distances to be together, particularly for their New Year’s Eve feast. Dishes with lucky meanings are included, such as fish, dumplings and spring rolls
  • Deocrations: In the run-up to Chinese New Year, but traditionally on New Year’s Eve, people decorate their houses using red lanterns, paper cutouts and New Year’s paintings, which are all thought to keep evil away. As this year is the Year of the Ox, you can expect to see decorations that reflect this.
  • Red Envelopes: After the Reunion Dinner, parents give children red envelopes, wishing them health, growth and good studies. Money in these envelopes is believed to bring good luck
  • Firecrackers & Fireworks: As soon as New Year arrives, firecrackers and fireworks are set off across China. It’s believed that the louder the firecrackers, the luckier it is for business and farming in the year to come
  • Lion & Dragon Dances: Public parades and performances are commonplace, featuring colourful lions and dragons. Lion and dragon dances can usually be seen on New Year’s Day and, while regaining popularity in China, they are very popular in Hong Kong and Macau

2021: Year of the Ox

In Chinese tradition, each year is characterised by one of the 12 animals that feature in the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Each animal has a year dedicated to them once ever 12 years, in a cycle.

Leaving the Year of the Rat behind, 2021 is the Year of the Ox, which symbolizes strength and determination.

Why air charters can be the ideal solution

As air freight rates continue to rise, lack of passenger aircraft has led to a major reduction in capacity. Meanwhile, a distressed shipping industry adds further pressure. With Chinese New Year fast approaching, now could be the right time to consider using air charters.

In recent months, we have seen a dramatic surge in enquiries from new customers looking for agile, resilient and reliable solutions to move their goods – as well as a specialist provider with the relevant expertise. We have now supported numerous customers with air charters and have moved a wide range of goods – from fashion to PPE – around the world.

There are a great number of advantages to using our air charter services, which include:

  • Increased speed and agility
    Faster turnaround, reduced risk of delays and 24/7 availability through our Rapid Response team
  • Cost efficiency
    Ligentia’s robust network of contacts mean we are able to find the most cost-efficient solution for you
  • Flexibility
    With exclusive use of the aircraft, the process can be scheduled to suit your specific requirements
  • In-flight tracking and visibility
    We provide full visibility and transparency through our PO management platform, named Ligentix
  • Specialist knowledge
    Our team is experienced in handling urgent shipments of both a sensitive and complex nature
  • On-the-ground support
    Our experts are on-hand to assist you to ensure smooth operations throughout the process

If you would like more information on the air charter services currently available from Ligentia, please email

95% of the world’s cargo moves in passenger aircraft. Due to COVID-19 and the lack of passenger aircraft operating, cargo is now moving on scheduled freighter services. Capacity remains a challenge.

In general, overall air traffic increased from August, with more and more airlines resuming flights as the gradual reopening of societies continues. While this is a clear trend, it is expected that it will continue to be a slow and gradual recovery for the rest of 2020 and way into 2021.

Increased demand for pharmaceutical and medical supplies continues to push airfreight rates higher and cause space availability issues. Projections show that the capacity shortage in air cargo could last into next year and beyond.

There is likely to be further capacity constraints from China with Golden Week at the beginning of October, coupled with the new product launch for Apple, which will affect space and rates from the Shanghai region.

Dhaka (DAC) air export cargo movement is increasing and this trend may continue until December 2020. Some prime carriers have already increased rate BAR (Best Available Rate) from the first week of September, with others planning to increase rate BAR from the middle of September onwards. Considering limited space availability, carriers are not currently providing any ad hoc rates.

Airport operation is regular, however in the last couple of weeks there has been huge cargo at DAC airport. As maximum FRTR shipment scans have to be through EDS/EDD due to EU compliance, a good number of shipments are piled up in the EDS/EDD area for scanning. As a result, there is some backlog at the airport, which is causing shipments to be delayed for 1-2 days.