As a global supply chain management provider, we are known for working with international retailers, brands and manufacturers. Due to the current pandemic we have successfully expanded our international expertise to help aid the movement of vital PPE to the frontline.

On Thursday, 7th May, the Ligentia team celebrated the landing of one of their air charters, this time at Doncaster Sheffield Airport for customer Ideal Medical Solutions (IMS), a UK distributor that specialises in supplying surgical equipment to medical and surgical professions. The shipment totalled 22 tonnes, equating to over 400,000 pieces.

Dan Gill, CCO, Ligentia, said:   “We have expanded our capabilities to concentrate on providing support where there is the greatest need. Our teams are currently working 24/7 to meet the growing demand for air charters as space availability becomes a growing concern for importers, and the requirements for PPE continue to be in high demand.”

Andrew Wakeling, CEO of IMS Group of Companies explained; “Ideal Medical Solutions have been able to adapt rapidly to the current crisis, and we have utilised our strong industry based relationships to source the highest quality PPE in vast volumes for our NHS and front-line staff.

Our top priority is to protect frontline staff and ensure public funds are being used appropriately to source safe and reliable PPE. During this crisis we have developed a great working relationship with Ligentia and hope to continue working together in the future.”

 

 

This month saw the launch of ‘Mask Our Heroes’, a charity focused on raising funds to purchase PPE for the frontline. The founder, Matt McGahan, whose father was recently a victim of COVID-19, has stated he is determined to focus his attention on raising money to donate much needed critical PPE for the frontline staff in the NHS and any other role that requires protection from the virus.

Following the launch through several media channels, social media has been used to encourage the #upsidedownchallenge, asking people to post films or images of themselves upside down. With celebrities quickly jumping on board to endorse the charity, and many people already donating to the gofundme page, PPE is being donated by Mask Our Heroes and hand delivered across the UK.

At this challenging time Ligentia has found many ways to support organisations looking to import PPE products and we are proud to partner with Mask Our Heroes as the charity’s Logistics Partner. Ligentia will provide all supply chain services to move goods into the UK in support of Mask Our Heroes.

Lee Alderman-Davis, Global Product and Development Director at Ligentia commented; “We are delighted to play a role in such a worthy and inspired initiative. Given the time-critical nature of PPE, our focus is to find the fastest solutions that will ensure the goods are delivered to the frontline as quickly as possible.

Click here to visit the Mask Our Heroes GoFundMe page.

 

 

Last September Ligentia ‘remastered’ was launched, and we committed to introduce new digital ways of working across our business.

As we continue to face the current challenges dictated by the spread of COVID-19, not surprisingly working remotely is fast becoming the new way of doing business, making it even more important for us to connect and engage with our customers via our Technology Platform.

We are excited to launch our new Customer Hub. A single platform to educate, inspire and collaborate. We believe Customer Hub will transform the way you work, access your supply chain data and share knowledge amongst your teams.

Comprising of 6 key areas – News, Knowledge Hub, FAQ’s, Quick Links, Analytics and My Documents – you will be able to gain detailed insights into the industry, answers to specific questions and access customer service metrics.

You choose how to connect. The Customer Hub provides seamless integration of multiple communication channels into one place, such as Live Chat, Email, WhatsApp, WeChat, Web and of course Ligentix. This is coupled with real-time analytics to keep your stakeholders fully informed.

Group CCO, Dan Gill explains; “Our priority is to keep all communications across the Supply Chain in a single easy to use platform, and the launch of the Customer Hub does just that. The Hub will integrate shipment details with the flow of information in a single view, meaning customers only have one place to go and no conversations need to happen outside of the platform. We have used the latest in machine learning, optical character recognition (OCR) and artificial intelligence (AI) to automate as much of the process as possible, meaning faster and more accurate responses to our customers. This launch is very much a first step with lots of new features being rolled out this year.”

For FREE access to the Customer Hub click here – then click ‘sign in’. You will be sent your login details via email.

To learn more about how to use Customer Hub and key features click here.

If you have any questions please contact the Customer team.

Today we launched an inventory relief programme to help its general merchandise customers tackle the slowdown in demand by supporting storage solutions at source to alleviate time and stock pressures in the supply chain.

Knowing that organisations are currently facing on-going disruption to their global supply chains, we are offering new and existing businesses free storage, whilst space is available, in all our China warehouses for up-to four weeks.

Daniel Gill, Group CCO, explains; “Our global team are working tirelessly to support our customers to keep their goods moving. However, we know that as factories in China have hit near normal production levels in the past few weeks, organisations are facing the difficult decision to cancel or still ship goods as consumer demand falls due to Covid-19.

That’s why from today, for 4 weeks, we are offering free storage across our warehouse network in China. By taking advantage of our program organisations will be able to gain greater control of their inventory whilst easing the pain of unplanned costs.”

Benefits to storing stock at origin with Ligentia includes:

  • Greater control of inventory
  •  Real time visibility down to SKU level
  •  Inventory control solutions
  •  Reduced pressure on store operations and distribution networks
  •  Ship what you need when you need it without  the constraints of MOQ’s
  •  24/7 accessible technology platform – Ligentix
  • Dedicated point of contact

For more information on how to take advantage of the free storage available in China, please email your enquiry to hello@ligentia.com

 

We are Working Remotely!
Yesterday the UK government announced further planning to delay and flatten the peak of the epidemic COVID-19. Part of their advice was for people where possible to work remotely, stop all non-essential travel, and limit social interaction.

Our contingency planning group continues to prioritise the health and safety of our staff and as such we have taken the decision that all colleagues working in our Glasgow, Leeds, Romford, Bristol, Manchester, Tilbury and Felixstowe offices will work remotely from tomorrow, Wednesday 18th March 2020. The team based at London Heathrow warehouse will remain in place whilst our facilities are fully operational. If government regulations no longer allow for the warehouse to operate we will update our customers.

The good news is that due to our Technology Platform our teams will be able to stay connected to each other and our customers to ensure we operate at normal levels.

Warehousing Measures
Our warehouse facilities within the UK and internationally remain open and several safety measures have been implemented. Robust hygiene controls have been introduced and contingency planning is in place if colleagues need to self-isolate.

UK Hauliers
UK hauliers are working collaboratively to implement community wide safety planning. We are requesting that all customers take note of the below and advise the Ligentia customer team of any concerns:

Electronic and Paper POD
Due to the nature of COVID-19, the virus can be spread through interaction with objects that have been handled by those who carry the virus. drivers on arrival and departure from all sites must interact with staff in order to complete paperwork, and confirm the delivery was completed. This is an identified area of risk and we understand that more and more sites are not wanting to get involved in this aspect of the collection/delivery. With this in mind, we respectfully request that any electronic or paper POD that is completed and signed by the driver only, is accepted by customers as confirmation of the delivery, waiting times etc.

Site Rules
We would also request that all drivers are permitted to remain in their vehicles while on any customer premises. At several sites that our drivers attend, on arrival they are asked to use communal waiting rooms. In the current climate, we do not believe that this is the safest option, and therefore believe that drivers should be allowed to follow the ‘social distancing’ policy and remain isolated in their vehicles for the duration of their time on sites. We understand that this may cause a change to current site rules, but due to the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in, we request your understanding in this matter.

We expect the crisis to disrupt global supply chains for several months. Proactive emergency planning in collaboration with the Ligentia Customer teams is imperative at this time to successfully keep your goods moving.

As we receive new information we will continue to update our website as well as post on social media.

The novel coronavirus continues to impact global manufacturing and supply chains as factories seek to resume operations.  All Ligentia offices in China are now open and in daily contact with customers, and the rest of the global team to help minimise risk to current schedules.

Factory Production
Production has resumed for companies in most provinces across China as of February 10th following a government-mandated delay to restart normal business operations aimed at mitigating the virus outbreak. However, some jurisdictions, predominantly at the municipal and district level, have imposed different production schedules and requirements for resuming normal operations sometime between February 17th and March 1st.

Travel restrictions have been triggered as Chinese authorities seek to contain the outbreak with labour shortages causing backlogs to build up at many ports.

Trucking
Cross-provincial trucking remains challenging throughout China as authorities require drivers to remain 14 days in self-quarantine depending on the license plate of the truck, and the registered province of the driver.

Overall trucking availability has been reduced to 40% within the Shanghai city area, while capacity has been down to 10% from Shanghai to other cities as drivers reject trips to inland provinces to maximise the number of runs.

Air
With limited trucking capability available, congestion has started to build at air cargo terminals and warehouses. This is due to inbound shipments that have either not been cleared by customs brokers or which delivery and pick-up services could not be arranged. As a result, cargo operations have slowed down and shipment delays and demurrage costs are starting to materialise.

The large number of cancellations of both passenger and freighter flights, combined with factory and logistics operations restarting in the coming weeks, are expected to cause an air freight capacity shortage that could last until the end of April. In total, more than 25,000 flights have been cancelled per week so far, reducing air freight capability by approximately 50%. In addition, Emirates Airlines has reportedly cancelled freighters from Guangzhou to Dubai until March 27th, while Etihad has cancelled freighters from Shanghai to Mumbai and Chennai until March 30th.

Gateways such as Hong Kong have not reported congestion yet and could serve as an alternative entry point to southern and central provinces in China.

Ocean
With the Lunar New Year period having been extended in most provinces until Feb 9th, shipping lines have announced extensive blank sailing programmes for their vessels. About 82 trans-Pacific sailings have been cancelled in March, taking around 198,500 TEU off the market, while carriers have blanked around 54 sailings in total for trade between Asia and Europe, according to Sea-Intelligence Martime Consulting.

In particular, yards at terminals in Ningbo, Shanghai and Tianjin have been congested, with very limited or no reefer plugs available.

Closed Borders
In Hong Kong, authorities have started to quarantine for 14 days all Chinese citizens coming into the territory as of February 8th in an effort to drastically reduce the number of travellers into Hong Kong. Cross-border truck drivers have so far remained exempted from the measure, and cross-border deliveries continue to be possible, albeit requiring advanced booking.

Since January 31st, Russia’s 16 border crossings with China along a 4,000 km border have been closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, likely affecting trade volumes. No reopening date has been announced yet, but Russian authorities indicated that the closure may be extended until March 1st.

We expect the crisis to disrupt global supply chains until April and potentially beyond. Proactive emergency planning in collaboration with the Ligentia Customer teams is imperative at this time to successfully keep your goods moving.

If you would like support moving your goods from China please contact our sales team

Public Health Contingency Plan –
In response to the emerging situation and the advice given by the World Heath Organisation; Officers from the Councils Port Health team have implemented enhanced surveillance measures at the Port of Felixstowe. A Public Health Emergency  Plan, maintained by Port Health and its partners, is in place to respond to any significant issue.

All vessels that have called at any Chinese port are now required to submit a Maritime Declaration of Health (MDH) – a document from the International Health Regulations that contains information about health on board a ship.

In addition to assessment of the MDH, Officers of the Port Health Authority are also undertaking assessment of onboard documentation and providing health protection information.

Checks so far have all been negative, however Port Health remains vigilant and are monitoring the international developments closely.

Ports Waive Storage Charges –
More than 25 major coastal and river box ports, led by Shanghai, have announced this week that they will waive their storage charges for loaded containers during the period 24th January to 9th February.

In northern China, ports offering the waivers include Dalian, Yingkou, Tianjin, Qinghuangdao, Tangshan, Cangzhou, Qingdao, Rizhao, Yantai, and Bohai in eastern China.

Along the Yangtze River, the ports of Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhousham, Taicang, Lianyungang, Wuhan and Chongqing have announced the waiver offering.

In the lower part of the country, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Zhanjiang, Dongguan and Beibuwan are also part of the coalition cutting fees.

Delays –
Wuhan port remains closed to date, we have not received notification on any further port closures. As expected the extended holiday has reduced demand for space with shipping lines, and blank sailings are being announced. As we gain details of delays on specific bookings our customer team will contact you to discuss next steps.

Our teams in China and Hong Kong have been able to contact more than 50% of customer’s suppliers, with the majority of factories currently listing a reopen and start production date of 10th Feb. However as the coronavirus continues to effect more people in mainland China, the Chinese government may decide to increase the holiday period further.

Air Services –
Most passenger air services have currently stopped from and to China. Freighter air services are operational however the imminent delays will restrict space availability. Therefore we would advise that if you have any air cargo to move in the next month please contact our air operations team as soon as possible.

Our contingency planning has enabled our China based colleagues to work remotely where extended holidays have prevented them from reaching our offices, meaning we will continue to provide services at a near normal operating level.

As the Coronavirus outbreak is expected to cause disruption to operations, the Ligentia team is working hard to identify the potential impact on our customer’s supply chain. The shipping capacity after the restrictions are lifted is uncertain, but normal schedules will take several weeks to get back to plan, and we expect some disruption through February and March.

By combining detailed analysis through our Ligentix platform, and the expertise of our global teams, we are able to review all new routing options that may include air/sea, air and rail. We are already supporting many of our customers with various solutions to help forwards plan. If your business would benefit from additional advice from the Ligentia customer team please contact sales@ligentia.com

Next steps

  • Identify your purchase orders planned over the coming months and prioritise the urgent bookings.
  • Consider moving some of your planned shipments from ocean to air. However we would advise that a backlog will increase the demand for air freight which will impact availability.
  • Consider reviewing your supplier network and look to source urgent items, or goods that are at their early stages of production outside of China.

We are expecting detailed factory updates from 3rd February. As we receive new information we will continue to update social media and our website.

Our global team is working hard to continue operations as normal. Following the recent announcements of an extended New Year holiday we have applied contingency plans that allow our colleagues in China to work from home, and managers are in daily contact with their team.

We expect supply chains to be affected as manufacturing is halted further, and staff will be unable to attend work. This will also affect truckers, cargo handlers, warehouse operators etc. The knock on affect is likely to be a surge in air pricing as the back log of orders mount due to delayed production, and the demand for air freight will increase to bridge the gap.

The good news is we are planning with our customers to identify priority orders and products to forward plan as much as possible.  By looking at new routing options that may include road/air services, sea-air services and other deferred air services, we will be able to help you keep your supply chain moving.

For more information about our air freight services click here or email sales@ligentia.com

Source: Air Cargo News 29/01/19

The air cargo industry is bracing itself for the impact of measures taken to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus in China. Overnight, British Airways announced that it would suspend all direct flights to and from mainland China, with others expected to follow.

United Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Air Canada are amongst the other airlines that had already announced plans to reduce flight numbers.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has extended the New Year holiday – a time when production in the country comes to a halt – by at least three days, until February 3.

Businesses in the Jiangsu province, which includes Shanghai, have been ordered to remain closed through to February 10.

And the vast majority of flights into and out of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, were stopped last week.

It isn’t yet clear what impact this could have on air cargo, although supply chains are expected to be hit, with bellyhold air cargo capacity already reduced.

Meanwhile, there has been some suggestion that there could be a surge in demand when factories re-open.