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Freight services update from Operations Director Barry Broughton

Air Freight Forwarding Services

Our air and sea freight services update on the current situation as follows.

Air Freight

We continue to see soaring rates and longer lead times on Far East air freight routes. Efficiency is also affected by the social distancing and health requirements of staff. This is adding hours to the supply chain, on what should be the fastest mode of freight forwarding.

From the extra time that is required on passenger planes being used for freight, for strapping cargo to seats, to crew and handling delays due to staff shortages. There is a possibility that slower loading times are negating the increased capacity provided by the all freight passenger services.

The rates will continue to climb, this is in part due to the global demand for medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and perishables, but also whilst some shippers will wait as long as they have to and pay whatever is asked, driving rates up.

We expect to see little change in high rates over the coming weeks with prices currently $7 upwards per kilo on Far-East to Europe routes. Unfortunately the outlook is also for delays and longer load times whilst COVID-19 spreads and peaks in Europe and the US.

Charter Flights

Chartering a flight is the perfect solution for time-critical shipping, significantly reducing transit times and controlling costs, without limitation on the size or type of cargo.

With the range of aircraft available we can source the most efficient plane and shipping solution, tailored to the goods and budget.

Additional benefits of charter are direct flights and often in and out of smaller airports – which reduces delivery times as well as streamlining operations, handling and logistics.

We also offer a carry on service, where one of our team will personally transport and handle your package from beginning to end, including final mile delivery.

Air freight rates will start to come down as consumer demand for non-essential goods falls, but this will be in part due to decreased production, and limited warehouse capacity as goods are held pending economic change.

Sea Freight

One of the issues putting pressure onto sea freight at this moment in time and over the next weeks are the travel restrictions on seafarers. Crew are not designated key workers and therefore in an industry where 100,000 approx. crew changes are required each month, to continue to defer crew changes can only be a short-term solution.

Whilst ports are restricting where crews can disembark, the welfare of crew on-board beyond the term of their contracts is becoming an issue. Picking up provisions at hub ports is also becoming difficult, and without passenger flights, repatriating seafarers is impossible. Crew on board cannot return home, crew locked down in their homes cannot join scheduled vessels and are without income.

But the ports are fully operational – TC Haulage, LTL Pick up/Delivery, Multimodal and Warehouses. Slowdowns are expected with bottlenecks at borders and delays with custom authorities.

Most of the shipping lines are adding surcharges such as PSS but are still operating. On Asia-Europe routes, the number of blank sailings has increased. As a result of the blank sailings, non-vessel owning operators have been forced to hold empty equipment longer than usual, incurring more detention and demurrage charges, chassis fees and re-positioning costs.

Our sea and air freight teams are fully operational and we are keeping a close eye on the freight industry, still shipping and finding solutions for our clients. Please contact us if you are interested in air charter or any of our services.

Email us at or call on +44 (0)1622 237979

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