Please find below some updated information on various topics :
South China Feeder Services Set for Decline, Thanks to Harsh Covid Restrictions
Source: The Loadstar Author: Sam Whelan Dated: 29/11/2021
China’s quarantine rules for seafarers are set to cause a big drop in Pearl River Delta feeder capacity in the run-up to Chinese New Year (CNY) in February.
Both ONE and Hapag-Lloyd have issued advisories warning of disruption from late December to mid-February, after feeder operators announced service suspensions due to a lack of crew.
Hapag-Lloyd said: “This suspension is caused by the Covid-19 quarantine requirement for ship crews plying between South China and Hong Kong upon their return from the CNY 2022 holidays.
“Taking this situation into consideration, we will temporarily suspend cargo acceptance to South China, with final destination under the Pearl River Delta area and Fuzhou, until further notice. However, we will continue to accept cargo on mainline services to main ports such as Hong Kong, Yantian, or Shekou.”
Akhil Nair, VP global carrier management and ocean strategy at Seko Logistics, said it was likely only imports to China would be affected.
“Which makes sense, as they don’t want arrivals during CNY when booked from overseas, as these would all simply accumulate at transhipment ports,” he told The Loadstar. “With declining free-time from terminals that are already congested, I would assume this is a prudent move.”
Furthermore, he said, carriers would be able to keep exports flowing because “most of the main carriers are able to accept cargo via terminals such as Nansha”.
However, Lars Jensen, CEO of Vespucci Maritime, said the disruption to feeder services could “give rise to a number of ripple effects.”
He explained: “Cargo to/from the smaller ports might see an earlier surge than usual [prior to CNY]. Some of this might be redirected onto land transport once the feeder capacity declines, which can give rise to a shortage of capacity on the land side, including for shippers only using the large ports in the region.”
Indeed, a similar feeder crunch took place last year, with forwarders pointing out the potential disruption to intra-Asia shipping, the rising costs of truck moves, and the difficulties for much-needed repositioning of empty containers.
Shipping lines were also quick to sound alarm bells, warning it would be difficult to meet both import and export demand from Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
Nevertheless, in addition to the South China barge market, shipping stakeholders have raised red flags over China’s increasingly extreme zero-Covid policy and the ramifications for normal crew changes.
For example, China has reportedly implemented quarantines of up to seven weeks for returning seafarers, while ships with foreign crews need to wait two weeks to enter a port.
Transport Groups Warn That “Knee-Jerk” Reactions to Omicron Variant Could Spark Worse Supply Chain Disruptions
Source: gCaptain.com Author: Mike Schuler Dated: 3 December 2021
Organizations and unions from across the transportation sector are warning that world leaders’ knee-jerk reactions to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 are putting transport workers and the global supply chain at greater risk of collapse.
Cross-border transport workers including seafarers, air crew and drivers must be able to continue to do their jobs, and cross borders without overly restrictive travel rules, to keep already ailing supply chains moving.
The warning comes from international transport organisations and unions representing road, air and sea transport. One week since the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the new Omicron strain of COVID-19 as a “variant of concern”, at least 56 countries have reimposed varying degrees of travel restrictions.
But the International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Road Transport Union (IRU), and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) are jointly calling for governments to not reimpose border restrictions that further limit the freedom of movement of international transport workers and learn from the lessons of the last two years.
The transport groups, which represent more than $20 trillion of world trade annually and 65 million global transport workers across the supply chain, are calling for an end to the “rushed and fragmented approach to travel rules by governments” that have already contributed to issues such as the maritime industry’s crew change crisis.
“Now is the time for heads of state to listen to industry leaders and workers, by taking decisive and coordinated action together to ease strain on the supply chain, and support an exhausted global transport workforce during the busy holiday season,” the International Chamber of Shipping said in a statement.
The groups have expressed frustration that governments were reneging on a number of clear steps, such as guaranteeing the free and safe movement of transport workers and prioritizing vaccinations, issued by the groups to world leaders in September.
SOUTH AFRICAN PORTS & CFS
High traffic volumes and congestion continue in all major terminals in South Africa.
Berthing delays continue to impact already constrained and delayed vessel schedules
Terminals remain congested and high traffic volumes are present.
Some wind has been experienced and this may affect terminal operations.
Vessel berthing waiting times:
• Pier 1: 7 to10 days
• Pier 2: 4 to 5 days
• Point: 2 to 3 days
Operations affected by wind in the Cape Town terminals.
Truck booking system for Cape Town terminals has caused some delays, however processes are gradually improving.
Vessel berthing waiting times:
• CT Container Terminal: 3 to 4 days
• CT Multi Purpose Terminal: Nil days
PORT ELIZABETH / COEGA
Heavy winds experienced.
• Port Elizabeth Terminal: Nil
• Coega: Nil
Middle East, Sub Continent and Indian Ocean
All services remain heavily congested with limited carrier capacity. Blank or delayed sailings continue into South Africa.
UK, NWC and Med
Capacity constraints and congestion out of Europe continue and the trades are met with erratic and ever changing carrier schedules and amendments. Cargo demand both into and out of Europe remains high, with very limited space on the vessels available to meet the demand.
Carrier capacity remains at a premium from the region, with carrier scheduling changes, vessel delays and blank sailings. Possible delays anticipated out of major transhipment hubs.
Both inbound and outbound services are affected by carrier capacity constraints. CFR Freight and our partners will load as capacity is available; irregular carrier schedules and booking releases may result in alternative routings for cargo.
Blank sailings continue from the region, this with majority of carriers. Delays are to be expected as capacity remains tight on services into South Africa.
Inbound freight rates have been more stable, however short validity periods as issued by carriers remain in place.
As focus remains on China’s zero COVID-19 tolerance policy as well as pending Chinese New Year, freight rates are have been fairly stable.