As the world slowly returns to a semblance of normality, we find that the airfreight imports into SA continue to show a reasonable increase in volume, despite the current high freight rates due to space restrictions.
With limited flights direct into Cape Town and Durban at the moment, most Cape Town and Durban bound cargo is still being routed via Johannesburg, adding a day or two onto the usual transit time to Cape Town and Durban.
Airline covid sanitation surcharges are still applicable on all incoming shipments for the time being.
Customs and Excise are running at reduced capacity in some departments, but due to the electronic nature of most transactions these days, releases are still being processed in good time, and in most instances, release on cargo is obtained prior to the actual goods landing in SA, with the exception of shipments which need to be physically examined for whatever reason.
Airlines operating to and from South Africa are still limited when compared to the days pre Covid 19. The main reason for this occurrence is the lack of passenger demand to and from South Africa for obvious reasons. The limited options of airlines operating at present and coupled to the disruption in frequency of flights of such airlines has a direct effect on airfreight rates and charges cargo shipments loaded on the passenger flights attract.
Although rates and charges have stabilised continuously as the months have passed and the industry as a whole came to grips with the new normal, the airfreight rates have remained high. We remain positive and hopeful that as more airlines start returning and operating again, the natural law of supply and demand will lead to more favourable airfreight rates and charges which are comparative with pre-covid levels.
Courier services and routings remain available at present but are also still very much affected by Covid 19 in very much the same way dedicated airfreight shipments are. All courier type shipments are still only routed out of the country from Johannesburg which results in longer transit times.
Customs in South Africa is generally still functioning on an acceptable level from an airfreight export point of view and in general, are not impeding the timeous departure of shipments.
We can therefore assist with the routing of airfreight shipments to most countries in the world, however certain countries which due to their location and Covid 19 lockdown levels and regulations are closed for trade and tourism and where we will not be able to assist with. Luckily, these countries are in the minority.
It is vital in today`s world, due to the current delays experienced in the sea freight industry globally, that a freight forwarder can guide the client as to the best possible solution, be it the routing, freight rate or method of shipping.
The delays currently experienced are due to a shortage in equipment (containers), especially from the East, as well as space on vessels, which can have a huge impact on the planning of a business.
Further delays are being experienced locally with the port handling due to severe weather conditions as well as ageing equipment within the port.
Supply and demand dictate the pricing, and regrettably, for now, import rates are exorbitantly high. We do however as always make every effort to shop around and negotiate as best we can for our clients.
With the worldwide shortage of containers and the South African Citrus industry at the peak of their season, it is currently very challenging to secure space and equipment for general purpose containers.
Transhipment cargo bound for Australia and New Zealand, via Singapore, is also experiencing delays due to a major backlog of containers thereby affecting the overall transit times on these routes.
The port of Cape Town has also experienced major delays in the last 2 weeks due to inclement weather conditions, with the port having to top for wind and/or surging. We have noted that one vessel departed Cape Town more than a week later than her advertised “ETD”.
This demand for space and equipment is driving Freight Rates upward, although we do hope that this situation stabilises very soon.
We encourage all our clients to notify us of their pending bookings as soon as possible in order that we may secure space in advance, thereby avoiding disappointment by way of missing a sailing due to the vessel being fully booked.
The Pioneer Freight team will always go the extra mile to check with all Carriers in order that we secure space and equipment at the best rates possible, for our clients.
On the airfreight side, we have seen the suspension of the ‘Normal Airfreight’ service for the time being. All airfreight shipments, therefore, need to be sent on an express service. This is mainly due to limited domestic flights currently in operation.
Road freight continues as always without any changes to service. However, due to the rising fuel price, the basic road freight cost has unavoidably increased slightly.
Airfreight on weekends is only serviced by certain flights. Our team receives a schedule once a week for the available weekend flights.
We as Pioneer Freight look forward to being of assistance now and in future with all of your freight forwarding, customs clearing, courier and domestic freight needs, and in doing so assist you our valued client in expanding your brand and products around the globe.