As you are aware, the current global environment is in a constant state of flux due to the rapidly developing measures being taken to curb the spread of COVID-19. At TLR, we are doing our best to stay atop the domestic and international restrictions on movement having an effect on commerce.
Currently, air freight has sustained the most substantial impact of the virus response, as many airlines have severely reduced or even cancelled passenger flights to Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East. Cargo flights are still operating, in some cases also in a reduced capacity, and demand has increased sharply. In response, airlines have implemented surcharges, in some cases exceeding 50%, or are requiring all cargo to move via priority or express service at higher rates. As yet, there have been no restrictions placed on domestic travel within the U.S., however we are watching closely for updates.
For the most part, ocean freight is still moving as usual. However, we have seen some terminal closures in Seattle and Los Angeles due to a decrease in throughput. This is putting some additional strain on the terminals that remain open, causing some delays and disruptions. There is also a shortage of equipment caused by the lack of cargo coming in from Asia, specifically China, resulting in an increasing difficulty finding suitable containers for all manner of goods. Unless and until imports begin to increase, this is going to become a severely limiting factor for export.
As of now, there have been no outright restrictions on cargo movement throughout the major markets. While many EU borders are closing to individual or civilian traffic, they remain open for cargo crossing, though experiencing sometimes significant delays. We urge you to follow up with your customers to confirm their status, as we have had reports of businesses shutting down for the foreseeable future. While we understand the urge to expedite as many shipments as possible, we caution you to consider the possibility that cargo may become “stuck” should restrictions tighten further or a business closure is mandated prior to receipt.
TLR will work diligently to help you plan for – and support you through – any contingency. With the upheaval in businesses realigning to work remotely and carrier responses slowing considerably in recent days, we do want to advise you that there may be potential for delays in response or action. Please know that we are working to mitigate these delays and maintain as much efficiency as possible. Thank you for your understanding and patience during this challenging and uncertain time.
We will continue to provide updates as we receive them. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your customer service representative or e-mail BD@shiptlr.com.