Shanghai Pudong airport continues to choke on COVID cargo

Shanghai Pudong airport continues to choke on COVID cargo

Cargo terminals at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport remain extremely congested, but logistics companies responsible for getting shipments from their customers and on planes say the flood of freight trapped in warehouses is slowly beginning to recede.To get more shanghai news today, you can visit shine news official website.

“There are some green shoots of progress,” Neel Jones Shah, global head of airfreight at tech-enabled forwarder Flexport, said in an interview. “Some backlogs have been worked through. We’re getting a little bit of clearance in our own airport warehouses. We’re able to ingest more freight, whereas before we held freight away from the airport.”

The factors behind the choking levels of congestion remain the same: a tsunami of export orders for personal protective equipment and other medical supplies bound for countries combating the coronavirus outbreak; China Customs offices that are overwhelmed trying to manually inspect medical supplies after the government mandated checks for quality and fraud; and shortages of warehouse labor to process all the shipments.

One reason ground handlers face backlogs is that goods, particularly face masks, are mainly packed in loose cartons and building large shipments in pallets and containers is taking three to six times longer than usual, said Alan Zalas, a spokesman for Austrian-based cargo-partner GmbH. Before the crisis, cargo warehouses might have to load one or two containers for the hold of an international passenger plane also filled with baggage. Now, with many passenger planes operating as so-called “ghost” freighters they have to build as many as 14 containers, in addition to preparing shipments for pure freighters, said Andy Frommenwiler, vice president of airfreight for the U.S. subsidiary of German-headquarted Dachser.

He confirmed that shippers still need to deliver freight to the airport at least five days before the estimated time of departure to get on a flight.Dachser USA has recently chartered several Boeing 777 freighters to transport goods from Shanghai to Los Angeles.

The situation is still so chaotic that ramp loading operations for giant Russian-built superfreighters – the Antonov AN-124-100 and Ilyushin IL-76 – have been moved out of Pudong to alternative airports, said Christos Spyrou, CEO and founder of Neutral Air Partner, a logistics cooperative based in Hong Kong.

Guangzhou and Zhengzhou airports are also experiencing congestion, he added.

United Airlines hasn’t been impacted very much because the capacity on its cargo-only jetliners is booked far in advance “giving our customers plenty of lead time t comply with regulatory and export requirements,” spokeswoman Rachael Rivas said in an email.Chicago-based SEKO Logistics says it believes congestion eased slightly this week because the stricter quality inspections and reports of empty freighters, missed flights and cancelled charter contracts led to a reduction in demand at Pudong.

Demand was further impacted by the increasingly strained political climate between China and the U.S., with President Donald Trump talking about seeking reparations for the coronavirus outbreak and fears of a further crack down on hospital-garment quality testing.