International Logistics Summary – June/July
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Since the covid outbreak, moving goods internationally has become an experience often fraught with congestion, a lack of equipment and delays. Below is a summary of some current issues in major regions.
The Suez Canal blockage and temporary closure of yantian port last month, has led to more delays from Asia, with space and container shortages continuing.
Ocean freight rates have continued to spiral and, as we enter the traditional peak season, there is no sign of the situation letting up in the near future.
Supply chains continue to be extremely disrupted by market conditions from Asia to Europe and the USA, and many resourceful businesses are trying to source products elsewhere.
Brexit customs formalities, which saw the planned six month transitions enter this month, are still holding up shipments around Europe, particularly UK exports.
The biggest issue, which continues to mean delays and high pricing across the board, is the ongoing driver shortage. Equipment with a driver is in very high demand.
The recent increase in coronavirus cases has been impacting the driver situation further, with more testing and more drivers needing to self isolate.
Port congestion and transport shortages continue throughout the USA, with little sign of improvement in the near future.
UK Container Transport
Container transport is being majorly impacted by the HGV/LGV driver shortage right now. The situation is now felt to be critical as driver numbers have declined since Brexit and the ongoing coronavirus issues. Prior to the covid outbreak there was an estimated shortfall of 60,000 drivers in the UK, that is now believed to be over 100,000.
The RHA (Road Haulage Association) have been lobbying government to act, by enabling temporary working visas for foreign nationals, amongst other suggested solutions. The UK lost many European drivers that returned home following Brexit.
The shortage in available drivers is leading to many importers incurring quay rent and demurrage charges as transport cannot be arranged prior to the free period expiring.
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New rules have been introduced for the movement of lithium batteries by air. Effective from 1st April 2022, the changes were buried in the recent IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.
China has been cracking down on imports and exports of dangerous goods and recent weeks have seen even more stringent checks and at times over zealous applications of the rules.
An aircraft caught fire on Saturday, with the focus being on Lithium Batteries. The Russian made Tupolev Tu-204C was due to fly to Russia before it caught fire.