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Air cargo from China soars to meet rising pandemic demand


AIR cargo from China continues to surge to meet demands for personal protective equipment (PPE), creating extremely high rates, reports the American Journal of Transportation.

Air carriers are pushing to add capacity to meet the spiking demand for these critical items to battle the pandemic, while ocean carriers are decreasing capacity to account for the plunge in demand for most other goods, said the report.

The difference of rates between air and ocean are striking, with air rates out of China at an increase of more than 400 per cent.

As the US begins to recover from the pandemic, overall ocean capacity to the US west coast has been reduced by 30 per cent due to blank sailings through the end of June to account for this slump in ocean demand.

Because of this, space constraints on ocean carriers is to be expected. It is recommended to place bookings at least two weeks before estimated departure dates to secure space, it said.

Due to the magnitude of air shipments seen all over the United States, prolonged delays of a minimum of 3-4+ days are being seen with freight breakdown and availability at airlines. Additionally, the urgent demand of PPE products has tripled the number of freighter flights from China, adding to congestion and delays at airlines.

Airline ground handlers have employees that have contracted the virus rendering them unable to report to work with an already extremely limited workforce imposed from social distancing and lock-down sanctions.

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