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Update July 2021Published on 16 July 2021
On a frequent basis, we would like to keep you informed on what is going on in the international relocation industry and the impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 as this will have an impact throughout the remainder of the year.
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 currently seeing all kinds of challenges in APAC, EMEA as well as in the Americas. Currently, there is a global disbalance of available containers. This disbalance 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.
In addition to high prices on containers, we have also seen 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. This effectively means that most shipments go via SIT (Storage in Transit) to await available containers and a departing vessel. We have also seen that some ports have been shut down in China as well as in the U.S. For example, there are no moves possible to Vietnam due to the COVID-policy of this country and the lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City (source: Vietnam Briefing).
This all affects the capacity of operational staff and it takes longer to find the right people for moving jobs. Most of our moving partners in Europe, APAC, EMEA as well as in the Americas are fully booked until the end of the month and through August, schedules are getting full and these capacity issues will continue.
We also notice that in specific markets there are challenges related to the COVID-19 crises. In South Africa there is civil unrest at present. 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
Although is it difficult to predict all the developments and effects, we are actively involved in industry associations in all continents to ensure we are prepared to serve our clients in the current market conditions. Our supply chain team has increased the service capabilities for us as a Group and The Harmony Relocation Network is helping us a lot to create operating capabilities. Our account managers will keep you updated as we progress in these next few months.
We wish you a great start of the summer and will be sure to keep you informed!
Wiebe van Bockel – CCO Voerman Group