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Update FebruaryPublished on 14 February 2022
In this new update we would like to give you an overview of what we have seen over the last few weeks. Covid-19 continues to impact all aspects of our lives and businesses and whilst we see the easing of restrictions in some countries, we are still very much living and operating within a pandemic. We will continue 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 on almost all relocations we perform globally.
Some key topics we will keep you updated on throughout this year:
Global Freight challenges
With ongoing pandemic related delays and closures and the nonstop demand for ocean freight due to increasing consumer demands, particularly from Asia to the USA and a lack of capacity, ocean rates are still very much elevated and transit times remain volatile. There has been some stabilizing of freight rates at the beginning of the year, but the current rates are still eight to nine time higher than the pre-pandemic rates. There are no signs that air or sea freight pricing will drop soon, and it has been anticipated that the current price levels will remain throughout most of 2022, and for some lanes we could see price increase. Continued disrupted schedules and port congestion, combined with Covid Omicron slow downs and Lunar New Year means that we have yet to see any significant improvement in shipping conditions in 2022.
Source: Freightwaves, Container Shipping’s 2022 outlook: The Bulls, bears and wildcards
At the end of 2021 there was approximately 100 vessels off the Californian coast waiting to berth. Due to environmental concerns, a new queueing system was implemented, in November, to improve safety and air quality. The positive news is that whilst this new system has not reduced the number of ships in the queue it has also not increased the backlog. Source: Freightos, Port of Long Beach Delays & News
It has been reported that 2022 could perhaps be more lucrative than 2021 for ocean carriers and extremely expensive for cargo shippers.
The Straits Times reporters tracked a bicycle order from China to Singapore – before and after – global supply chains broke down. Please click on the image below or click here for a graphic – that greatly demonstrates the current supply situation, we are facing, at the moment.
Capacity Issues – Household Goods & Relocation services
Despite the easing of restrictions across Europe, trucking capacity remains stretched and as we prepare for the peak season of moving people, we will see an increase of demand for trucking services. The capacity issues are not only pandemic related, the shortages of drivers are also due to an aging workforce. The European Road Haulage has estimated that Europe alone faces a shortage of around 400,000 truck drivers.
Another impact to Intra-European and European domestic work is the new legislations from European Union. Compliance on trucks, hours worked, and time spent in countries is much better tracked & reported on. The compliance as well as the duty of care for employees will influence the total capacity.
In the UK, GVMS (Goods Vehicle Movement Service) system went live on the 1st of January 2022, and we are pleased to advise that the preparations carried out by our supply chain in the lead up to the regulations / process taking effect on the first meant that transport to the UK was carried out as normal. However, it has been reported that many smaller companies were unaware of the changes and have struggled with the system and only one in four companies were prepared.
Read more about the global truck driver shortages:
Source: Travis Road Services, Truck driver shortages in Europe and the US and what countries and companies do about it
The challenges of freight and trucking capacities has also had an impact on the destination services industry. Due to extended shipping transit times the duration of temporary accommodation is now longer which means there is less availability in the market which has increased pricing. This reduction in available accommodation has also meant that advance bookings are required.
What do we do?
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 reviewing our processes to improve efficiencies and the quality of service. We will continue to secure dates for packing or delivery as soon as orders are received, and transportation will be booked 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 and to meet expectations.
What can you do?
For new initiations, please continue to reach out to us as soon as possible so we can properly understand the needs of the transferee and the transit time requirements. This will allow us to set realistic expectations at the beginning of the relocation journey. If you have any questions, please reach out to your account manager or customer services contact.
Global Network & Connection – To Keep You Informed
To date the global relocation industry has adapted to meet the challenges presented by the pandemic, we will continue to keep you updated regularly and please reach out on any questions. We are here to serve you!
Wiebe van Bockel – CCO Voerman Group