International transport China: “the Dragon comes back to ride the waves”

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Chinese recovery sees slow “rebalancing” of the international container traffic and increased air freight rates

According to the main Asian and Western container lines, and as confirmed also by our local freight forwarding partners, Chinese ports and airports are getting back to normal after the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.        The same applies to inland transport, which has returned to normal operation.

Sea freight China

Two months after a near complete standstill in China that rattled global supply chains, the country’s ports are again pushing out thousands of containers that were stranded at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.

The massive buildup of boxes at docks in China has left a big shortfall in cargo at ports in the U.S. and Europe since early February, and created a shortage of empty containers that Western exporters need to ship everything from farm products to electronic parts.

The increase in Chinese exports should bring “a rebalancing”, but this will happen slowly, taking into account that the transit time of a ship from Asia to Europe is about one month.

Lars Jensen, chief executive of Copenhagen-based SeaIntelligence Consulting, said canceled sailings are back to normal levels at this time of the year but that more disruptions may come as the coronavirus pandemic rolls across cities in Europe and Asia.(

Refrigerated sea transport China

Container lines had introduced surcharges after the extended shutdown of businesses in China due to COVID-19 virus saw reefer containers piling up at major ports in the country, and lack of reefer plugs and staff to monitor them. Since late February the situation at Chinese ports has been normalising. (

Air freight China

Air freight rates are skyrocketing as demand from China begins to ramp up but spare capacity remains tight.

The price jump from China comes as factories continue to ramp up production following an extend Chinese New Year break as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, capacity remains tight as passenger flights – and therefore belly space – has been cut.



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