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30th April 2020

COVID-19 Updates

We would like to share our latest update on the Covid-19 virus.

PREVAILING WEATHER CONDITIONS AFFECTING SERVICES

Typhoon / Cyclone Alert

There is no Typhoon, Cyclone or Tropical Storm activity reported that is affecting any major trade lanes as at the 26th April.

China Main Ports

A combination of fog and strong winds have added to berthing delays at some China ports.

Dalian – The port was closed 24th to 25th for almost 24 hours due to strong winds.   Berthing delays remain at half a day.

Xingang –   Strong winds over the 20th and 21st April contribute to berthing delays of half a day.

Qingdao –  Strong winds over 24th and 25th April have caused delays to vessels berthing, which are at around 12 hours.

Shanghai – Less sailings have eased the berthing delays at Shanghai which are reduced to around half a day.

Ningbo – Pilotage again suspended on 24th April due to fishing boat congestion.   Berthing delays remain at 1 day.

Fuzhou – The port was closed for periods over the 19th and 20th April due to dense fog.  Half day berthing delays remain.

Xiamen – The port has recovered from dense fog issues over the last week and is operating well.

Nansha – Berthing delays remain at half a day as a result of recent work on gantry cranes.

Yantian – Bunching of vessels has caused berthing delays of around half a day.

UK Weather

There are no weather warnings in place for the UK.

UNPLANNED SCHEDULE INTEGRITY AND PORT OMISSIONS

2M Alliance

At Origin –

AE2/SWAN Loop – MSC Arina 014W – a reminder from our update last week –

The last vessel to operate before the AE2/SWAN service is suspended for 12 weeks, has been delayed by a week by the carriers.  Cargo planned for this vessel will unfortunately face a 7 day delay in arrival at Felixstowe.

Original schedule – Qingdao 3/4, Busan 5/4, Ningbo 9/4, Yantian 12/4, Pelepas 17/4, Felixstowe 9/5.

Revised schedule – Qingdao 3/4, Busan 5/4, Ningbo 15/4, Yantian 18/4, Pelepas 23/4, Felixstowe 16/5.

AE6/LION Loop – MSC Istanbul 016W

Sailed Ningbo 3 days late on 19/4 and 2 days late ex Shanghai 20/4. It has now sailed 2 days late ex Yantian on 23/4 and is expected to make up time during its voyage to Europe and arrive Felixstowe on schedule on 25/5.

UK Arrival –

This week’s arrivals on the four main direct services for the UK –

OCEAN Alliance

At Origin – No significant delays to report.

UK Arrival –

THE Alliance

At Origin – No significant delays to report.

UK Arrival –

 

VOID SAILINGS

From Asia to North Europe

There have been further capacity cuts by Ocean Alliance over the last week.  As at the 27th April the position with carriers until the end of May is –

2M Alliance –

2M Alliance have 7 outstanding void sailings over the April and May.   The capacity removed is  around 172,000 TEU – approximately 33%.

Ocean Alliance –

Ocean Alliance now have 8 void sailings over April and May.   The capacity removed is around 122,000 TEU – approximately 20%.   There are indications that this alliance might void further sailings in May.

THE Alliance –

THE Alliance now has 7 void sailings over April and May.  The capacity removed is around 138,000 TEU – approximately 34%.

Current Situation – Asia to North Europe

From South East Asia

These origins rely heavily on the Asia to North Europe vessels calling at the transhipment hubs.  The following is based on the situation as at 27th April.

Singapore –  5 out of 19 vessels due to sail from Singapore are now cancelled in May.

Tanjung Pelepas – 11 out of 24 vessels are now cancelled in May.

In view of the limited choice of transhipment vessels and the extended transit times of some services, we are suggesting that clients budget for an extra 7 days in transit.

From Indian Sub-Continent

The 12 different carriers in the 5 main alliances that provide UK bound services from the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East have all announced some major vessel cancellations over the last week.   These carriers are the same ones that serve Asia to North Europe, but they have also developed specialised services for India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

A brief summary –

 

Carriers are making very late decisions on whether to operate vessels or not.

Please contact ACS offices for detailed information on sailings.

From UK to Asia 

Out of 26 major sailings in the next two weeks, we have 5 void sailings on exports.  Space is still in demand and this continues to keep rates at higher levels.

Please talk to our export teams if you need up to date quotations.

CONSORTIA AND SERVICE UPDATES

2M Alliance

We had previously advised that 2M have suspended their AE2/SWAN loop of vessels for all of Q2 2020.  This alone was a cut of around 22% of 2M Asia to North Europe capacity, but further cancellations went on to increase this up to around 33%.

In response to demand from South China and Yantian in particular, 2M have announced that their AE7/CONDOR Loop will temporarily make a call at Felixstowe as well as London Gateway. This service is expected to remain in place for the duration of AE2/SWAN being cancelled, and 7 voyages have been confirmed to date –

 

Ocean Alliance

No major changes to services, but as expected Ocean Alliance have made further capacity cuts on their FX7 and FX8 loops.   There are indications that further vessels will be cancelled over May and most likely from these two loops.

THE Alliance

THE Alliance carriers – Hapag Lloyd / Hyundai / Yang Ming / ONE have confirmed the merging of FE2 and FE4 loops, and they will have a single product called FE2 for a minimum of 7 weeks starting in May.   The main ports affected by this are –

Qingdao – The call is dropped on the new temporary FE2 replacement.  Qingdao becomes a transhipment via Busan or Singapore in around 50 days.

Busan, Ningbo, Shanghai, Yantian, and Singapore all sail on the same day as the FE2 did previously, but all add 7 days in transit, arriving Southampton on Thursday a week later –

All of these origins, including all South East Asia origins using THE Alliance FE2 Loop will temporarily be 7 days longer in transit.

UK PORT OF ENTRY ISSUES, CONGESTION AND SERVICE LEVELS

All of our major ports continue working with reduced productivity due to lower staffing.   The daily deep cleaning arrangements continue to cause periods where booking slots are not available, which causes congestion at times.

Felixstowe –  There is only one cancelled vessel over the next two weeks, so the port is very busy.  We are experiencing delays of 2 to 3 hours collecting containers.

Southampton –  The port will only have three void sailings over the next two weeks, which will ease congestion issues.   We have seen delays of 2 or 3 hours collecting containers due to the deep cleaning operation.

London Gateway – Only one void sailings into London Gateway in the next two weeks and the port is operating well.   London Gateway will temporarily lose a major Asia to Europe service with the suspension of THE Alliance FE4 Loop, and also the reduced services of two carriers from the Indian sub-continent.  This is already starting to have an impact, with a reduced number of vessels arriving.

Inland Rail Terminals –  No reported issues at our Inland rail terminals.

UK CONTAINER TRANSPORT

We have good availability of transport over the coming week.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS AND PLANNED SERVICE DISRUPTIONS

Reduced traffic on UK roads has eased traffic congestion.

The daily cleaning operations at our ports are causing booking slots to be removed and are the main cause of disruption at present.

Air Freight

India

The current lockdown in India originally to be lifted on May 3rd has now been extended in a majority of states through to May 16th. There are still a number of states reviewing the situation but a decision to mirror the recent extension is expected in the next 24 – 48 hours. There is an internal government discussion to look at the feasibility of a “staggered” exit from lockdown but nothing yet agreed or confirmed. Movement of goods within India is severely restricted with only 5% of available trucks operating due to labour and driver shortages. Jeena offices are working a skeleton team with the majority operating from home where possible, but with nearly all non essential factories closed cargo volumes are very low.

Due to the current lockdown imposed in India all PAX flights have been suspended. There are a number of freighter and PAX freighters now operating, predominantly through the Middle East but adhoc rates are continually increasing and subject to booking restrictions.

All India capacity has been severely impacted due to ALL passenger services being suspended with limited freighter options still operating through the Middle East. Majority of scheduled services suspensions are planned through to mid April but this will be continually reviewed.

China

Major capacity reductions in place throughout China, most EU/UK carriers have extended the flight suspension on passenger services through to the end of April  but this is expected to run through May. As capacity becomes more constraint through the coming weeks we expect the current 7 day booking window to increase.

Mauritius

With Mauritius on lockdown there are no PAX flights currently in operation and with the curfew extended to May 4th the initial plans to reinstate PAX movement at the end of April will be pushed back. Freighters and some charter options are available but rates only valid at booking confirmation.

Pakistan

The Pakistan Federal Government have extended the country wide lockdown until April 30th although no official communication has been released, a National address is expected in the next 2 days. The Govt. of Pakistan suspended all international passenger and freighter operations to and from Pakistan until further notice.

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka the airport at Colombo is now closed until at least the end of April to all PAX services. There are a very limited number of freighter services with rates applicable only on the day of booking.   As well as the government instructions on closing CMB airport there is now a strict curfew in place throughout Sri Lanka which runs through to the 30th April.

Continental Europe

There has been little change since our last update.  All our European offices, hubs and partners are open and working within their own government guidelines; but rates are rising, and delays will increase.

Freight is still moving, although most borders remain closed for travellers and holiday makers.  Delays are occurring because of driver health checks at border crossings and extended transit times should be expected.  Priority is being given to essential freight such as foodstuffs and pharma.

Whilst we continue to try and maintain our road freight departure schedules, volumes are dropping so departures are becoming more infrequent.  The situation is also challenging due to the border delays that drivers are encountering to/from the UK.  We will continue to accept bookings on a case-by-case basis, and all rates will be ad hoc, please contact your usual ACS representative.

Freight movements may well be affected as DCs / warehouses cease operations.

There is also an issue with the ability to print documentation for border checks which may also affect transits.

Import Duty & VAT Payments

Clients with duty deferment accounts with HMRC capable of making payment in full should continue to do so. At the time of writing, nothing has been agreed by HMRC as to whether May’s payment for April imports can be deferred beyond the normal date, so as it stands at the moment, the direct debit will be called upon as normal.

Traders who are experiencing significant financial stress and may not be able to settle import duty and VAT payments should contact HMRC for advice and any requests to defer payment would have to be reviewed as an individual case. Clients utilising the ACS deferment account are still required to settle ACS invoices.

Absent Preference Certificates

HMRC have announced that traders can claim preferential tariff rates using a copy of the original preference certificate held by the declarant. This applies to certificates issued since 1 March 2020 and until restrictions are lifted. Please note that when this facility is used, it is essential that the original preference certificate is made available to ACS as soon as possible in case it is required by HMRC for presentation at a later date. If preference certificates are not available on demand, HMRC will require payment of the duties suspended to be paid in full by the importer.

UK Government Support for Business

The Government has expanded its support for exporting businesses during the current crisis through the provision of guarantees for bank loans for those companies facing disruption due to late payments and insurance cover for exporters who are worried as to whether they will get paid by their clients. Further information and details of how to apply can be found by following this link  for export working capital, and here for insurance.

Support is available to business in a wide range of areas including general financial assistance and business advice. Further information can be found here.

 

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