Coronavirus Update & Empty Container Booking/Time Slot Fee

Coronavirus Update

Whilst many provinces in China have ended their official shutdown, it’s expected to take some time before normal operation resumes. Factories will need to comply with new health regulations, fulfill backlogged orders and workers must return from across the country or quarantine before they can resume normal production rates. 

Please continue to be mindful of the situation and expect delays, check directly with your suppliers for updates and book any upcoming shipments with an available ready date to get your goods moving.

Transport within China continues to be challenging, as there are still varying levels of local regulation and restrictions on the movement of people and a shortage of drivers, which is pushing rates up by 150%. It’s important to arrange cartage ahead of time to avoid delays.  

All Port Terminals are reported to be open, although delays and vessels omissions continue to be a factor. We suggest that shipping schedules are reviewed and where a significant inland road transport leg is involved, investigate barge and feeder vessel options via 2nd and 3rd tier ports closer to the shipper or importer.

Shipping lines are still reluctant to accept Reefer container bookings as a shortage of power connections on Port, and the congestion detailed above, mean that cold chain risk is elevated.

We have been advised Hubei province and Wenzhou in Zhejiang province are the most affected areas. Outside of China, we have seen increased levels of infection reported in Korea, Japan, Singapore, Iran and Italy. We are expecting restrictions in these regions over the coming week. We will continue to monitor the situation and include these regions in our updates if the situation changes.

We are also expecting to see an increase in freight rates. The first indication we have received is from cargo moving from or via the UK to Australia, with the implementation of a peak season surcharge for LCL of USD 7.00 per w/m, minimum USD 7.00.

In summary, while there are positive developments in parts of China, there remains considerable uncertainty, which has the potential to spread to other impacted countries.
As shipment bookings start to increase, it becomes more important to talk to us as early as possible so we can secure a solution for you. Space will become extremely tight and rates are predicted to rise higher than normal.

We will continue to monitor and keep you updated. If you have any questions, please contact your ICAL representative. 

Empty Container Booking Fee / Time Slot Fee

Unfortunately terminals have yet again advised of another rate increase effective March 9, 2020. Effective for all terminals Australia wide, container time slot fees and Empty Park Fees (also known as Empty Booking Fee) will increase adding an extra A$37.00 – $49.00 per container. These charges are applicable for both import and export containers, and will be reflected in container transport rates from early March.