As the world rushes to source PPE as quickly as possible there has been a huge surge in sourcing and purchase of vital PPE related equipment to help in the fight against COVID 19
Chinese manufactures in particular, have seen demand shore and have struggled to keep pace, not only with demand, but also with the ever changing landscape in terms of control measures introduced by Chinese authorities.
To protect ‘the made in China’ brand factories have had licenses cancelled on mass and have had to re-register with customs to be placed on the approved ‘white list’ to be allowed to export medical PPE out of China.
Customs checks have been ramped up as well causing not only widespread congestion and delay but, in many instances, shipments being held and not allowed to export the country having not met the necessary requirements. Please see previous blog Exporting PPE From China – Regulations
Congestion was at its height before the Chinese May holidays with major airports of Shangai, Xiamen, Guangzhou & Shenzhen all facing significant delay and long queues for vehicles trying to get cargo into airlines to meet flight cut offs.
There have been knock on affects at hubs globally facing a surge in demand against a backdrop of reduced capacity. With some 16,000 aircraft grounded globally and wide belly capacity reportedly 78% down against the same period in 2019 you can see why pressure has mounted and further delays have been experienced as the industry works extremely hard to balance demand with available capacity.
Airlines have moved to reintroduce passenger aircraft but for cargo only, with passenger cabin space being utilised for commercial cargo. A Boeing 777 can as an example take an additional 7 tonne of cargo as a result which has been vital to get suppliers of PPE in the air bound for global destinations.
All of this as resulted in a huge spike in Air Freight Cargo rates and whilst this has dropped in recent weeks from record highs in early April, the outlook on the passenger side of the industry dictates air cargo is going to face a shortage of supply throughout the second quarter and beyond..
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