With the first month of 2021 behind us, many of us will reflect on the sheer extent of what has occurred over the last 12 months. The shipping industry has been largely affected by the pandemic and the only certainty at this stage is that it will take some time to recover.
Freight rates remain consistent with the last quarter of 2020 and unfortunately the prospect of any reduction remains unknown until after Chinese New Year.
China’s official Lunar holiday will start on the 11th to the 17th February. We encourage you to check with your suppliers regarding their individual holidays as many will extend their closures to allow staff time to travel.
Global trade imbalance is still affecting schedule integrity and equipment repositioning all over the world. This month the spotlight is on the USA as conditions on the East and West coast remain extremely congested. Unfortunately, the situation has not improved over the last two weeks and now more than 40 vessels are idled off Long Beach/Los Angeles pending processing. Terminals are understaffed due to COVID, meaning extended turnaround times for trucks, internal transfers and gate transactions. This congestion will delay all vessels to Australia, China, Europe and the rest of the world; causing a domino effect on vessel schedules moving forward.
Major ports throughout China also remain congested and most vessels have been delayed at least seven days from their originally planned departure date. Some carriers have imposed congestion surcharges, whilst other shipping lines have swapped vessels and omitted ports in a relentless game of catchup.
Despite these ongoing challenges, it is great to see so many customers in various industries adapting to these conditions and embracing change. We appreciate your continued support and understanding and will keep you informed as further news comes to hand.