While we appreciate we may be sounding like a broken record, we wanted to make sure that all stake holders understand the situation right now when moving products from Asia to the UK, Europe or North America.


1. Space is critically low in the coming weeks. The bounce-back after lockdowns has contributed and despite this year’s pandemic there is more volume moving right now than at the same period last year. However, despite the market conditions, the steamship lines have not returned to full schedules and blanked sailings are continuing for some voyages. This means that there is simply not enough space for the volume moving and this is majorly impacting all importers throughout the UK, Europe and North America.

2. Equipment levels are now low. Some regions are struggling to provide equipment as containers are not getting back to Asia fast enough. This particularly affects 40ft high cube containers and in some cases 40ft standard containers too. Considering the volume of orders may be a useful alternative and even moving 2 x 20ft containers where possible. We are working on minimising the additional costs for such an option, and suggest you speak to suppliers now, and ask them to help by agreeing to pay 2x 20ft terminal handling charges instead of 1x 40ft fee. We will combine all other extra docs/customs fees ourselves. We will work on combining delivery charges so it hopefully doesn’t cost extra. Please check with our FCL team for final cost implications before going ahead with your approval to this backup measure.

3. Rates are increasing. All container rates have been significantly uplifted by carriers from 1st September and these increases are valid until at least 14th September, we urge all customers to review and understand their new rate sheets. We are monitoring the situation closely and believe the market position will be revisited by the middle of the month. Rates will hopefully soften around then but the situation is fluid and further increases cannot be ruled out.

4. Emergency Pricing. Even with the recent increase in rates, which apply across the board and replace any previous rate agreements, there is no guarantee of space. In some cases, to get bookings accepted, where equipment is low and space is particularly tight, there could even be additional rate levels to gain priority loading. This is something we are having to manage on a case by case basis.

5. Book ahead. For those who have the luxury of space, we are urging importers to order 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule which should be enough, on average to absorb the potential delays we are forseeing ahead, including vessel space issues (Rolling of containers) and equipment shortages.

The position is most certainly critical right now and the carriers are holding all of the cards. We are working extremely hard to manage the situation and to meet customer expectations during this difficult time. If you need further information or clarity on any specific movements, please do not hesitate to contact 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.