The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled various industries worldwide. This led to many companies scrambling to keep their business afloat amid uncertain times. Contactless transactions have become the norm, and the adoption of modern solutions has significantly increased as organizations pivot to remote work and digital commerce.
It’s been more than two years since the first wave of the pandemic hit the globe, and freight forwarder international firms have slowly recovered since then. But a recent COVID-19 outbreak in China has brought new uncertainties in the global supply chain, with the sudden increase in cases causing worker shortages in ports and important factories across the country.
The Latest COVID-19 Outbreak in China
After easing their harsh zero-COVID policies amid the wide protests in big cities, China has faced what many experts consider the worst COVID-19 wave recorded. Authorities in the country estimated that almost 250 million individuals contracted the virus during the first 20 days of December 2022, making it the fastest rise of COVID patients in the nation since 2020.
This unprecedented situation has led to businesses needing to close down again, as most of the workforce is infected or exposed to an infected individual. Reports also said that medical establishments are overwhelmed by the situation, most of which are struggling to cope with the sudden spike in COVID cases right after the government became lenient with their COVID prevention policies.
Effects on the Global Supply Chain
As home to some of the biggest ports around the world, there is no wonder that the latest COVID surge in China significantly affected the world’s supply chain. Some crucial ports like Shanghai and Shenzhen have recorded a notable increase in shipment cancellations rate, with reports expecting it to go up to 31%. This came as factories found it hard to operate with limited people, especially with many reporting that more than half of workers were infected with the virus.
The latest COVID surge in China also further decreased the demand, which was already down before the fiasco, for goods and raw materials coming from the country. This led to domestic and international factories experiencing delays in procuring products and consumers seeing a shortage in supply for some necessities.
The lack of workers and reduced demand has also led to shipping companies decreasing the number of cargo ships sailing. The delays in the acquisition of freights have significantly contributed to the growth of blank sailings, referring to shipping firms skipping one port or altogether canceling their ship’s voyage. This causes delays in the delivery not only of goods but also consumer parcels in many parts of the globe.
As economies continue to bounce back from the crippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic three years ago, new disruptions brought fresh challenges to the global supply chain. China’s latest COVID surge led to factories operating at limited capacity and ports experiencing bottlenecks. Countless Chinese manufacturers could not complete orders in time, and freight rates plummeted along with it.
The fear of another COVID-19 outbreak is already expected, especially with the country celebrating the Lunar New Year in late January 2023. But reports show that port congestion and freight procurement have improved in recent weeks, with pickup charges increasing by almost 10%. This can be a good sign that the supply chain will gradually go back to normal, despite the worries of another COVID surge in China.
Looking for a Reliable Freight Forwarder in the Philippines?
The whole shipping fiasco can be daunting for Filipino importers and exporters, but partnering with a reliable freight forwarding company can help you navigate the possible hurdles you’ll encounter. Excelsior Philippines has been in the industry for more than two decades, providing our clients with peace of mind that their shipments will arrive at their destination safely. To learn about our services, contact us now by clicking here or calling (+632) 8525-9775.
Import and export of goods via trade is the heart of every economy in the world, which is why international freight forwarding organizations are some of the most importance firms around. International freight forwarders closely work with sellers and buyers in different countries to make sure that goods get where they need to go.
International freight forwarding companies act like the middlemen of the trade, helping both sides ensure the success of shipping. They strictly follow freight forwarder international standards which helps guarantee that the goods will be delivered on time. So, if you are a merchant or consumer that wonders how freight forwarders work, here is a step-by-step guide to help you out.
Stage One – Export Haulage
Export haulage is the process when an exporter moves their cargo to the freight forwarder’s warehouse. The forwarder use trucks or trains are used to move the cargo and might take a few hours to a couple of weeks depending on the location and other external factors.
Stage Two – Checkpoint
Checkpoint is the process of checking goods for damages or irregularities. When the export haulage stage is over, the freight forwarders who are getting the goods will check the shipment to make sure that the goods aren’t damaged in transit.
Stage Three – Export Customs Clearance
Every cargo requires clearance from the country of origin before being transported to another nation. Custom brokers do this by submitting details and supporting documents about the cargo. If a freight forwarding company does not offer this service, it is required to find a third-party customs broker service to help with the process.
Stage Four – Import Customs Clearance
The country where the shipment is going has to check the import customs documents once the shipment gets there. The freights forwarder or the customs broker chosen by the shipper can get this done before the cargo arrives as doing so can expedite the next steps of the shipment.
Stage Five – Destination Arrival and Handling
This is the stage where the cargo finally arrives and is taken care of by the freight forwarding company. Once the cargo arrives, international freight forwarders will receive documentation about the shipment from the office at origin. Here, the shipment is also transported to the forwarder’s warehouse before getting delivered or picked up by the buyer.
Stage Six – Import Haulage
This operation moves the merchandise from the warehouse to the intended receiver’s final location. Freight forwarders usually help deliver the merchandise to the shipping address. However, the consignee can also choose to pick up the shipment directly from the warehouse should they wish to.
How do Freight Forwarders Work?
Many people would think that freight forwarders have planes or ships they use to transport cargo vessels. However, this is not always the case. Instead, these companies simplify the process for both importer and buyer as they act like the main point of contact for these people throughout the shipment process.
The freight forwarder takes care of all the details of the shipment from start to finish. This includes tracking the arrival of the cargo ship and getting in touch with trucking, airline, or shipping companies to make sure the shipment is picked up and delivered on time. The freight forwarding partner handles all of these details and tells clients what they need to know.
Deliver Your Goods Using an Experienced Freight Forwarder
Excelsior is an international freight forwarder with 20 years in the industry. Our company is present in across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao and will make sure that your cargo is being transported at the right time safely whether by land, air, or sea. If you want to have your goods delivered by professionals, you can contact us at (+632) 8525-9775 or visit our website at https://excelsior.ph.
Every international freight forwarding company is responsible for these emissions, and sustainable transport is the biggest challenge for the shipping industry. Shipping is crucial for economic growth, helping nations move essential products to cater to the demand. Every logistics company in the Philippines, freight forwarding enterprise, and shipping company should do their best to make shipping sustainable.
Here are some reasons why sustainability in the shipping industry is essential.
Why is Sustainability Important in International Freight Forwarding?
Online e-commerce has grown exponentially since the pandemic, and the global shipping industry is needed now more than ever. Joining the fight against climate change is a way for the worldwide shipping industry to thrive more. Shipping companies choosing to continue their operations via sustainable means reduce environmental threats as they step towards green and sustainable shipping.
Sustainability is also the current trend when it comes to different transport industries. Automobile manufacturers have constantly been developing electric cars for the longest time. The aviation sector is also doing its part to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to the point where flights today generate 50% fewer emissions than flights in the 1990s.
A sustainable shipping industry does not only reduce global carbon dioxide emissions. It also prevents oceans from having oil spills which can harm various organisms living in different water bodies and limit people’s access to clean water.
How Can the Global Shipping Industry be More Sustainable?
Compliance with environmental regulations is one of the best ways to have a sustainable shipping industry in a country. Nations and businesses in the maritime world have agreed to comply with the global conservation goals of the following three decades set by the International Maritime Organization and the Sustainable Shipping Initiative.
Creating a sustainable work environment can also promote sustainability in the sector. Making eco-friendly ports, switching to alternative fuels, and investing in green technologies can go a long way in fighting the rising global greenhouse emissions. Having a greener shipping environment also benefits the safety and trust of workers within the industry, enabling them to build more vital trust and transparency in the workplace.
In addition, increasing vessel efficiency can also be a game changer for many international forwarding firms. They can do this by using cleaner ballast water, decreasing marine litter, using alternative fuel sources, and enhancing the ship recycling process. And when vessel efficiency is optimized, less carbon footprint is produced.
Shipping Companies that Go Green
As economies rebuild after the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the shipping industry will continue to be an essential part of society. But various traditional practices in the sector have led to the rise of GHG emissions over the years, resulting in the need to adopt sustainable methods to protect the environment and workers in the industry.
If you need a sustainable international freight forwarding company with exceptional service, Excelsior Worldwide Freight Logistics has been one of the leading shipping companies in the Philippines for almost 20 years. We provide freight services for land, sea, and air. Excelsior has everything you need regarding logistics, and our mission is to ensure that your shipment will arrive at its destination safely.
After multiple countries restarted their economies after years of being under lockdown, the maritime industry saw an increase in demand as businesses wished to press on and leave behind the turbulent times of the pandemic. This led to increased fuel costs that negatively affected the shipping industry as high fuel costs resulted in high shipping rates.
Shipping and freight forwarding companies had to raise shipping rates in response to high fuel prices as early as the last quarter of 2021. Even though shipping costs rose after economies reopened, this was still a sign that international trade was starting to return to normal. Still, another crisis popped up in the early months of 2022 that hit international freight.
On February 24, 2022, under the guise of a special military operation, Russia essentially invaded Ukraine. Russia was then struck with different sanctions that affected a lot, including Russian oil getting cut off from the market and further driving both oil and gas prices up. The current war did not only affect oil and fuel prices as international freight took a bigger hit thanks to the sanctions, cancelled flights, extended flights, and inflation.
In addition to the war in Ukraine, the current tensions in Taiwan can also affect the current state of global shipping as China’s People’s Liberation Army continues its military drills that simulate a blockade on Taiwan. This is after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.
Ukraine War and Chinese Military Drills of Taiwan
War in Ukraine
Air transport is by far the most affected by the Russia-Ukraine War as multiple airlines reduced or stopped their operations between Europe and Asia. Those that continued their operations had to use extended air routes as both Ukrainian and Russian airspaces are currently closed. Thanks to extended air routes, airlines had to use more fuel, contributing to both higher fuel prices and skyrocketing prices of goods.
Land freight that relies on routes going through Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine to go to and fro the European Union, China, and South Asia no longer has any safe overland routes. This means that international freight forwarding companies will need to use different routes through the UAE, Serbia, Turkey, or Romania. Customs brokers will also need to adapt to the different language barriers and document processing procedures.
The war on Ukraine also affected maritime routes in both the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea, as the routes are no longer safe. Several merchant ships have been attacked off the coast of Ukraine, making it certain that sea freight will be unreliable until the war ends. Although Russia and Ukraine recently signed a deal to allow grain shipments to move through the Black Sea to mitigate the risks of worldwide famine. Whether this means that the sea lanes will be safe for now is unknown, but Shephard Media noted that the tentative nature of the grain deal might not significantly shift the current security situation in the Black Sea, so it might not still be safe to set sail.
Like how land freight will need to rely on other routes, sea freight will also need alternative routes, making air routes a more viable option for shippers and freight forwarders.
Military Drills Around Taiwan
The blockade on Taiwan also further limited the remaining available air routes as China warned airlines to avoid flying in areas around Taiwan where the military exercises are currently held. China has also designated certain six areas of airspace as danger zones that all civilian aircraft must avoid.
The ClarkSea Index is a barometer of shipping fortunes, and during the War in Ukraine, it’s seen that the earnings of the shipping industry improved as the cost of shipping increased. The chart focuses only on tankers, bulkers, containerships, and gas carriers, but it’s safe to say that even the cost of shipping through the air has also increased.
The flight restrictions in Ukraine and Russian airspace effectively removed about 10 million miles of airspace and international freight routes utilized by 20% of the world’s air cargo. This resulted in longer flights and lower air capacity as carriers took alternate routes or canceled flights altogether.
If the military drills off Taiwan continue, there is a chance that the supply chain will further be negatively affected by increasing the cost of goods and causing certain shortages.
As shipping and freight forwarding routes were negatively affected by flight restrictions and the redrawing of route maps, the cost of transporting goods also increased as freight forwarders, and shippers had to use different routes and use other means to adapt. Longer and alternative routes will jack up fuel costs and then jack up the cost of the goods themselves.
The cost of fuel and energy reliant on fossil fuels already rose due to the higher oil prices, and the cost of other goods will only continue to skyrocket as transportation routes remain restricted. Some food prices, for one, have already eased but still remain high, but things can change if more routes end up getting closed off.
When the war in Ukraine started, there was speculation that electronic vendors might raise prices while using Ukraine as an excuse. PC Gamers didn’t exactly see this change in prices as both GPU prices and cryptocurrency crashed, and other PC parts didn’t see any price increase, at least not significant enough to warrant attention if there was any. However, because Taiwan is export-focused and its main products include electronics, there is arguably a bigger chance of prices increasing if exports are disrupted. Taiwan’s other products include the following:
communication and audio-video products
plastics & rubber
Taiwan’s chip manufacturing industry will also be affected as China halts its sand exports to Taiwan. The continuation of military exercises and the rerouting of sea and air freight to the country, halts in sand exports to Taiwan, and possible complications if the situation worsens can negatively affect the prices of electronics and PC parts.
For simplicity’s sake, it’s safe to assume that prices for multiple products will only skyrocket when multiple conflicts are happening that can disrupt the supply chain. As long as the war in Ukraine continues and if the situation in Taiwan worsens, there will be shortages, and price increases and the world will need reliable freight forwarders and customs brokers to keep the supply chain up and running.
Everyone involved in the shipping and freight industry will need to adapt to ensure that they can continue their operations amid different crises and supply chain disruptions. Shippers can only adapt to the situation and look for other transportation routes, hire competent customs brokers to ensure that shipments reach their intended destinations through the new routes, and futureproof their operations.
Excelsior Worldwide Freight Logistics constantly endeavors to be a company of enduring greatness by providing only time-conscious, client-oriented, and exceptional delivery service. We also conduct free orientation for anyone who is willing to learn. It is our advocacy to share our knowledge & experience worth more than a decade in the business. Visit our website today at www.excelsior.ph to learn more about us and our service.
The Philippines is currently seeing high fuel prices, and the public transportation sector is currently reeling from the effects as drivers are forced to pay for expensive gas. Although rollbacks could happen in the future, it won’t change the fact that fuel costs are still high worldwide.
The price for crude oil initially went up when the demand for oil and gas returned as the global economy emerged from strict COVID lockdowns. Both oil and gas prices went up as major economies reopened. Because the Philippines is a net oil importer, gas prices in the country will naturally go up when international oil prices spike.
United States – 18.88 million barrels per day or 20% of the world’s total
Saudi Arabia – 10.84 million barrels per day or 11% of the world’s total
Russia – 10.78 million barrels per day or 11% of the world’s total
Canada – 5.54 million barrels per day or 6% of the world’s total
China – 4.99 million barrels per day or 5% of the world’s total
These five countries contribute 53% of the total world oil production, and anything that can affect both the production and sale of these countries’ oil will affect the cost of oil. Since oil becomes fuel when refined, expensive oil will then become expensive gas.
While the initial oil and fuel price hike were because of the increased demand, the situation worsened thanks to the Ukraine war.
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Cut Down Oil Supply
Because Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the world responded with multiple sanctions to penalize Russia. Due to the sanctions imposed by the European Union, the United States, and other economies, Russia has been selling less oil in the market, resulting in lower supply and higher prices.
Europe started ditching Russian oil by reducing the amount of oil they buy from Russia while shopping around for alternative sources. Some countries still buy some Russian oil because they have become too dependent on it, making it hard to look for alternatives. Because there aren’t enough oil alternatives in the market due to oil producers winding down production, oil prices will remain high until Russian oil returns to the market.
As the war sees no sign of ending anytime soon, it’s unlikely that the global oil supply and prices will return to normal anytime soon.
Effects on the Freight Forwarding and Shipping Industry
Even before the Ukraine War, shipping operators in the Philippines had already imposed bunker fuel surcharges to recover from high fuel costs. Fuel accounts for a freight forwarder and shipping company’s operating costs, so they’re recovering the losses through surcharges. In fact, the Philippine Civil Aeronautics Board has already upgraded the passenger fuel surcharge to Level 4, which equates to P108 to P411 per passenger for one-way domestic flights and P543 to P5,026 per passenger for one-way international flights.
The current surcharge is Level 11, which equates to P355 to P1,038 per passenger for one-way domestic flights and P1,172.07 to P8,714.84 per passenger for one-way international flights. Cargo fuel surcharge is also Level 11, which equates to increases of P1.82 to P5.34 per kg for domestic flights and P6.03 to P44.80 per kg for international flights.
Adding the war in Ukraine to the equation, fuel prices will naturally go up. Philippine Multimodal Transport and Logistics Association, or PMTLAI, president Marilyn Alberto noted that trucking costs would continue to spiral as fuel costs continue to increase. International air freight forwarders in the European Union and the United Kingdom were barred from flying in Russian airspace, creating difficulties in going to East Asia, effectively increasing fuel consumption which then increases fuel cost and transit times.
Alberto said that even if the Philippines does not make any significant trade with Russia and Ukraine, the country will still feel the ripple effect of the following:
Higher fuel costs
Long transit times
Suspension of services
Delays due to inspections of cargo bound to Russia to comply with sanctions
The ripple effect increases air and ocean freight rates due to longer container routes, high fuel prices, and possible high surcharges.
The reopening of multiple economies increased the demand for fuel and oil, resulting in higher fuel costs. Both the Ukraine War and the ripple effect of lower oil supply and longer transit times also added to the already high fuel costs. The cost of international freight forwarding will remain high, and it will take time for it to go down. Even so, freight forwarders and logistics companies will continue to operate, and it’s more important than ever to rely on a reputable company.
Excelsior Worldwide Freight Logistics conducts free orientation for those willing to learn. It is our advocacy to share our knowledge & experience worth more than a decade in the business. Visit our website today at excelsior.ph to learn more about our service.