The truth about transit times from China
27 December 2021
Sea freight from China has been plagued by delays for a long time. This has resulted in unreliable transit times and difficulties in planning import consignments. Our agent Cargo Services decided to analyse shipping companies’ performance in recent months, to offer you, the importer, a better understanding of the expected transit times from China. The information could help you to receive your goods just that little bit sooner.
Lots of delays, unreliable sailing schedules
Never before has sea freight from China had to cope with so many delays. On average, the time a container ship is en route has increased by more than a week. It’s hardly surprising that sailing schedules are barely reliable: right now, reliability is fluctuating around 33%. Halfway through 2020, this figure was almost 80%. All this makes planning import consignments very difficult at this time.
Add to this the issues affecting the actual sea freight transport, which our agent did not take into consideration for their analysis. Issues:
- Shortage of containers and tonnage
- Lockdowns at Chinese ports due to the coronavirus
- Production problems experienced by suppliers
- Congestion at ports, terminals and in warehouses
These problems add to the delays. As such, we advise that importers keep this in mind when planning.
Choice of shipping company affects transit time
All Chinese ports are showing a significant increase in average transit times. For example, the average transit time from Shanghai in 2019 was around 28 days. By now, this has risen to 44 days on average. This is an increase of almost 60% for this route.
Unfortunately, you cannot control the delays a container ship experiences en route. However, your choice of shipping company does affect the transit time from China. This is because some shipping companies are faster than others: one of the main findings of our agent’s analysis.
For example, it was shown that OOCL, EMC and COSCO performed better than MSC, ONE and HMM. The faster transit time means that we – whenever possible – will choose these shipping companies for our consignments. This resulted in shipments for our customers in September, October, and November 2021 being en route for one week less (!) on average.
Booking China sea freight
Our experienced team is here to help you with all your import from China! We can help with airfreight too. Together with you, we look at the most suitable options. Please contact us without obligation for more information.
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