The easing of Covid restrictions in China comes as positive news for supply chains. Blank sailings ramp up as Carriers continue to manage capacity in the lead up to Chinese New Year. UK train strikes to cause significant disruption over Christmas period.
China Eases Covid Restrictions
China’s government on Wednesday announced a significant easing of its zero-Covid policy, shifting towards a new stance of living with the virus. People with Covid-19 who have mild or no symptoms can now quarantine at home, with officials being instructed to stop implementing temporary lockdowns. Testing will also no longer be required for the cross-regional movement of people.
The easing of restrictions comes as positive news and it is hoped that these measures will begin to restore production output in China and, in turn, help curb global inflation. There are still some areas of the country with restrictions remaining in place. However they are not having any significantly detrimental impact on supply chains and we are not seeing any meaningful impact on cargo flows or any significant delays.
Carriers Ramp Up Blank Sailings from Asia to Manage Capacity
As seasonal vessel utilisation hits new lows, shipping lines are ramping up their efforts to manage capacity in the market by blanking more sailings from Asia. With the usual Christmas and Chinese New Year peak season not materialising as a result of the ongoing weakening demand for cargo, carriers will continue to blank a large number of sailings this month.
We are not expecting to see the usual busy January ahead of Chinese New Year, as indications are that there will not be the usual spike in demand. Unless there is a quick recovery in global economies, shipping lines will continue to suspend services and announce blank sailings next year.
With capacity continually being withdrawn, we are experiencing potential challenges with schedules changing at the last minute. We will keep customers updated with any news of impact to the movement of cargo at the earliest opportunity.
Christmas Rail Strikes to Cause Significant Disruption
The UK is preparing for significant travel disruption over the Christmas period with multiple rail strikes scheduled for December and January. As well as the walk-outs by more than 40,000 train workers over four days in December (13th,14th,16th,17th), further strike action was announced this last week designed to cause maximum disruption to travel over the Christmas period. The new strikes announced will be from 18:00 Saturday 24 December until 06:00 Tuesday 27 December 2022. Strikes are also planned for the New Year (3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th January).
The rail strikes are likely to bring the network to a halt and are expected to have a knock-on effect with roads anticipated to be significantly busier on the days affected. As we’ve seen with previous rail strikes, freight will be given priority over passengers, however disruption to rail freight is inevitable.
Airport Border Force Strikes Announced
Around 1,000 Border Force workers will strike from Friday 23 December until New Year’s Eve – Saturday 31 December 2022. Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff airports will be impacted, with the processing of cargo expected to take longer during this period. We would like to reassure customers that as we route most of our air freight cargo to Stansted airport, most shipments should not be adversely affected. Our team will be in contact to advise you if any of your cargo is impacted.