Problems with regard to air freight import
4 March 2021
The air freight sector is experiencing difficult times. There is a serious worldwide capacity shortage, and air freight rates have increased significantly. Due to the Chinese New Year, import from China is suffering even more. On top of that, various handling agents at Schiphol are dealing with serious backlogs. What caused these problems, and what should you keep in mind?
Capacity shortage is a persistent issue
For months, there have been fewer passenger flights worldwide due to the coronavirus. This also affects the amount of cargo that can be transported by air. In addition to the passengers and their luggage, these flights always have some room for cargo. The disappearance of these passenger flights has led to capacity shortages on many routes. Due to this, air freight rates have been very high for quite some time.
The import of goods is made even more difficult by cancelled flights. If there is little available cargo, airlines may decide to cancel a flight. Nowadays, this happens regularly, and this is often only announced at the very last moment. This means that it is hard to determine which flights may be cancelled beforehand.
The capacity shortage is most severe in China, India and Bangladesh. It sometimes even happens that, though a rate is indicated for flights from these countries, it turns out there is no room available after all when booking. This is a very unpleasant and unusual situation. We urge you to take this into account and to book early if possible.
Air freight rates and the Chinese New Year
Every year, the Chinese New Year results in an increase in freight rates. The rates peak just before the start of the celebrations, only to decrease again afterwards. Officially, the Chinese New Year has ended by now. However, many Chinese have spread their New Year’s holiday over a longer period due to corona. A large part of the population has currently not yet returned to work. As a result, the rates have hardly decreased so far.
Not only are the rates high, they fluctuate constantly. Because of this, we are currently often forced to offer daily rates. Please keep this in mind if you want to make use of air freight China.
Delays due to handling backlog Schiphol
Several freight flight handling agencies at Schiphol are currently dealing with significant backlogs due to serious staff shortages resulting from years of cuts. Sick absences and other calamities such as the winter weather in early February have only worsened this situation. Where handling usually takes only a few hours, this can now take multiple days. This may cause delays in the delivery of goods.
Fortunately, the backlogs are not quite as bad everywhere. Incoming flights at Schiphol are always linked to a specific handling agency. If possible, Ritra Cargo takes this into account when booking cargo.
We do our utmost to deliver your goods as quickly as possible. Thanks to years of experience and good, often personal relationships with handling agencies and airlines, our air freight team can do a great deal. Nevertheless, it is possible that your shipment may be delayed during handling. In this case, we will immediately contact you.
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