Subscribe to the Voerman Group newsletter and read about the latest developments and innovative solutions.
Update AugustPublished on 12 August 2021
In this new update, we would like to give you an overview of what we have seen happening over the last few weeks, especially on the freight side. The dynamics are changing fast so we want to keep you informed on what is going on in the international relocation industry and the impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as this will have an influence throughout the remainder of the year.
In general, the situation in recent weeks has not improved since our last update. There are even more challenges on the horizon. As mentioned in previous updates, we are seeing all kinds of challenges in APAC, EMEA as well as in the Americas. Currently, there is a global disbalance of available containers. Additionally, weather conditions have had a significant influence. For example, in Shanghai, the biggest port in the world stopped operations for a few days due to a typhoon: https://www.freightwaves.com/news/typhoon-in-fa-slows-air-ocean-exports-from-china?utm_content=174158866&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin&hss_channel=lcp-2040505
This disbalance of container availability and operations has led to significantly skyrocketing shipping rates and a diminished global capacity. At present, we are seeing the huge impact of getting containers from APAC to Europe and to and from the Americas. Prices have gone up by 300%+ in some instances and the end is not in sight. Expectations are that the market will stay very volatile until the end of the year and we foresee prices going up even further on some transport lanes.
The biggest problem at present is that in addition to the high prices on containers, the industry is contending with non-availability of containers and vessels. On average, we need to wait four to five weeks to get a departing vessel to take a container, and for some locations the wait increases by weeks and even months. This effectively means that most shipments go via SIT (Storage in Transit) to await available containers and a departing vessel. There is almost no capacity left for intra-European shipments. All carriers are fully booked and are operating on less capacity than prior to the COVID period.
From a labor perspective, there are multiple challenges in the world. In addition to the fact that it is peak season and it’s difficult to get all jobs secured with quality labor, we also see the impact due to COVID. In Sydney, capacity is down 90% due to new regulations and in Singapore only 2 people are allowed to be on a jobsite which affects the duration of packing and/or delivery. Most of our moving partners in Europe, APAC, EMEA as well as in the Americas are fully booked until the end of August, schedules are getting full and these capacity issues will continue.
In specific markets there are broader challenges related to the COVID-19 crises. In South Africa, there is ongoing civil unrest at present as well as in Tunisia. Currently, we cannot route anything between Durban and Johannesburg, meaning all container and truck transports are on hold until further notice. We have also had to delay packings and deliveries in Durban and the surrounding areas. In some areas of Johannesburg, services are also being affected.
What Do We Do? Expectation Management by Customer Service
Our customer service staff will work closely with the families moving as well as our corporate contacts to proactively keep everyone updated. We are also actively looking at different transportation modes (e.g. rail from China to Europe) and proactively booking capacity in high volume markets on available capacity. Over the next few months, we will look to secure dates for packing or delivery as soon as orders are in and book the transportation promptly. Please bear in mind, however, that it may be difficult to pre-confirm dates for transferees due to the ongoing and changing immigration or travel restrictions. We will count on flexibility from both sides to meet the preferred packing and delivery schedules, and we are committed to serve.
Global Network & Connection – To Keep You Informed
We wish you a great summer and will keep you updated on new developments.
Wiebe van Bockel – CCO Voerman Group