Alongside ongoing high rates, a significant level of disruption is expected during the upcoming air peak season.
China is currently contending with the contagious Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus. Strict social distancing measures, quarantine rules and lockdowns have significantly reduced the workforce, where manpower has fallen by approximately two-thirds. Pickup services, delivery services and air cargo operations have seen the greatest level of disruption, with 15 airports identified as having been affected.
Due to the depleted workforce, there is a temporary ban on passenger freighters out of China, reducing an already limited capacity further. Charter approvals are also on hold.
At present, it is not clear whether passenger freighters will be able to resume in the next few weeks. As they account for a large proportion of early air freight capacity, this could cause significant issues, with some suggesting this year’s chaos may be worse than that of 2020.
Rates are also rocketing. High rates to the US mean that some airlines are prioritising US-bound cargo over Europe-bound cargo due to its higher yield. The severe capacity crunch has similarly made it difficult to move bigger shipments of cargo – in excess of 40cu metres – from major Asian export airports.
Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh and Bangkok are experiencing high levels of demand to both Europe and US destinations.
Manufacturing in South-east Asian countries is seeing significant disruption, which is leading to many buyers looking to airfreight in order to reduce lead times and return stock to market and further exacerbating the imbalance between supply and demand.
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