Chinese New Year (starting February 12th) is very much on the horizon, which many have seen as a reset period that will rid us of the issues that have haunted the Asian ocean freight market over the past few months.

However, with the recent wave of Covid infections around the globe, we can perhaps expect some improvement after next month’s China closedown, but a return to normality is likely to be much further down the line.

The pandemic is not a single excuse for the issues facing international trade, but it has a lot to answer for. Each wave of infections that impact a region creates a genuine aftermath issue that creates knock on affects further down the line.

Right now, the situation is dire, as we continue to have the following issues:

  • A lack of Asia sailings calling in the UK due to port delays.
  • A lack of will for carriers to create more capacity to the UK.
  • Shortages of equipment due to cargo imbalances.
  • Rates continuing to rise dramatically.
  • Space continuing to be over subscribed.
  • Congested ports throughout the UK and USA.
  • Slow port operations in UK & USA, due to Covid measures and now more Covid related staff shortages.
  • Container transport issues in the UK & USA caused by port issues, driver shortages and now more Covid related staff shortages.

We hope and expect there to be some respite, some backlogs cleared, and slight improvements on the Asian market from the back end of February – after the Chinese New Year period finishes.

However, the recent waves of infections will almost certainly mean that we’re still dealing with more aftermath issues for at least a few more weeks, and into quarter two.
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