Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, business activities across various sectors experienced various degrees of economic disruptions and impacts. As we progressed and learned to cope with the new normal, we realized our shipment delays are getting longer. Slowly, the shipment delays are also becoming a new normal. We at AD&K Logistics understand the frustrations of the unknown constant delays. By sharing our insight, we hope to assist suppliers in explaining to upset buyers about the unknown delivery schedules.
Delays in International shipments to and from Singapore
COVID-19 has severely impacted international movement as various countries implement various different additional border controls and restrictions on international travel. This resulted in airlines drastically reducing international services. This has led to significant reduction in air freight capacity and frequency to and from Singapore to all international destinations.
Flight schedules can change any time with or without notice. Due to the uncertainty of the flight schedules, the air freight rates have also increased drastically. Progressive restoration of services is ongoing, however the pandemic situation is still very unpredictable. Currently air freight services to some areas are still suspended. Any sudden spikes in the number of confirmed cases or any emergence of any new variant causes panic. It could cause a suspension for any air freight service any time. Every supplier or buyer hope that their shipments do not delay and arrive smoothly. However, please do expect shipment delays of at least 3 to 10 working days for air freight shipments for now.
Similarly, shipment delays are affecting sea freight services as well. With all the restrictions on operations, the volume of sea freight shipment handled has dropped. With the restriction of movement, limited personnel are allowed to be physically present at port facilities. This effectively slowed down the productivity of various port facilities causing various degrees of port congestion. Most of the vessels go through a planned route which involves at least 3 to 10 or even more seaports around the world. Every time a vessel berths at a seaport, the vessel crew members on board go through the requirements by the various health authorities. In event, there is any positive Covid-19 cases detected, the vessel will be quarantined at the anchorage in the seaport after the completion of cargo operations as a safety measure. This inevitably and effectively adds unexpected duration to the overall transit time. This is something that has become the normal and there is nothing much we can do about this.
In Singapore, working from home become the new normal hindering the productivity of various activities. Although remote working is helping on limiting the spread of the unpredictable virus, many sea freight operations are working on in-house systems not linked via the internet. Stability of the broadband connections affect the ability of some of the various operations. With the change to full website operations, there is also the threat of various scams, web based hacks and data security issues. At AD&K Logistics, we limit our operations to the essential in our office.
What to expect for now
Covid-19 has impacted every link in global supply chains, from the availability of raw materials, intermediate components and finished goods, to the storage, delivery and sale of these items, and the movement of labor. At the start of the pandemic, as many countries impose full lock downs, postponing flight and vessel schedules helps to minimize the operating costs and eventually losses. Slowly as more and more countries are able to control the spread of Covid-19, there is a recovery of the schedules. The various earlier lock downs impacted supplies for many industries all over the world, resulting in a competition for resources globally.
At the start of the pandemic, the reduction in operational capacity helped in coping with the lock downs. The recovery has led to sudden shortage of equipment everywhere especially in sea freight operations, resulting in relatively higher costs. With the restrictions on human mobility and business shutdowns, more orders are done via online resulting in significant demand-side shocks in the regional and global markets.
The effective transit time delay for air freight shipment is more predictable than that of sea freight shipment. Flight schedules are almost certain upon departure if the route is direct. For transit or non-direct flights, the last flight to Singapore would be the final deciding flight that determines the actual arrival of the air freight shipment. The effective transit time for sea freight shipment is not as direct. The vessel effectively stops at a few seaports prior to Singapore depending on the voyage. The port congestion situation at every seaport contributes to the delay for the shipment. Currently the expected delay for every vessel is about 3 days to a week. Delays are usually kept to a maximum of a week. The vessel may omit stopping at Singapore port totally to attempt to recover the routing schedule efficiency for longer delays. However, there are also instances where the vessel will still stop at Singapore with delays up to a month.
For any shipment queries or shipment delays issue, do feel free to contact us, we at AD&K Logistics will try our best to assist.