- The first quarter of 2018 has proven to be one of the most challenging periods that we’ve experienced. With both Chinese New Year and Easter being earlier in the year, there was no window to get production up and running after the Chinese New Year closures to meet the Easter demand. Therefore in anticipation of this, demand for shipping space ahead of Chinese New Year was extremely high.
- Weather was also an issue that added to this particularly challenging period. At origin typhoons and fog affected ports, particularly in Eastern China, causing congestion, missed port calls and delays. In the UK, snow and high winds resulted in port closures and delays to vessels being able to berth.
- The Air Freight market was extremely busy right up to the end of the first quarter as the reduced number of working days made it harder to move the volumes required.
- Despite the challenges faced this year to date, we have maintained our levels of service by working collaboratively with our customers to ensure a limited impact to supply chains.
- More recently we have seen the next part of the consolidation of the industry take place with the formation of the Japanese joint venture – ONE (Ocean Network Express) on 1st April.
Looking ahead, demand since Chinese New Year has not been as strong as forecasts had envisaged. In response to this, shipping lines have been attempting to right size the capacity to more closely match demand.
While the Air Freight market was impacted by poor UK retail performance throughout March causing reduced volumes, this seems to have rebounded strongly with an increase in volume in early April.
We will keep you updated as the year progresses on any further industry news.