We had hoped that the period following this month’s Golden Week would see the Asian market start to ease back towards some kind of normality.

Of course, there would be backlog to clear and perhaps the following few weeks were going to be tough, which is what most carriers were communicating. However, none of us wanted, and few of us expected, the market to get considerably worse and the peak season to extend further – but that is exactly what we have got.

It has become evident over the past week that the situation is going to continue to get worse before it gets any better for logistics providers and UK importers. We are now hopeful that this current situation does not continue past November, so that business can recover by the time we reach the Chinese New Year, if not by the time we are faced with the challenges that Brexit will bring.

The UK appears to be in a particularly difficut position due to the major issues being faced at our main container ports – more on that here. The congestion and delays, which appeared to impact Felixstowe first, have spread to other ports, resulting in some vessels having to ‘cut and run’ before discharging containers.

The UK port issues have now led to one or two carriers unofficially communicating their refusal to take bookings to the UK from Asian locations during November. It would therefore follow that their vessels will omit calling at UK ports.

At this moment in time, there is no indication that other carriers will follow suit, but we cannot rule that possibility out. The least we can expect is that less volume will be available on the Asia/Europe loops that do continue to call at the UK, which is already driving rates up further.

Of course, the peak season, which has been heightened by six months of global trade being pushed into four this year, cannot be expected to continue indefintely and is usually driven by Black Friday and Christmas sales. So at some time, in the not too distant future, there must be some much-needed respite for UK ports and business,

That said, with covid-19 starting to peak once more and Brexit on the horizon, the next few months are still likely to challenge us.

At Westbound Logistics we pride ourselves in offering personalised and tailored logistics solutions. To find out more please call 01375 800800​ oemail info@westboundglobal.com.