Tasmanian Export Freight and Logistics Update

As with almost every week of the last two years freight and logistics summaries can highlight a range of ongoing challenges

Shanghai COVID Restrictions

Nearly all of Shanghai is under lockdown. Many Air and Sea carriers have cancelled or omitted the Shanghai ports, so this has put extra pressure and potential congestion on neighbouring ports such as Ningbo. The lockdown has been extended and no dates have been confirmed for re-opening.

North America Shipping Delays

Shipping delays remain at the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and Charleston. The combination of vessel, trucking and rail delays will vary from 16-30 days. Unfortunately, these delays have also created container equipment shortages for export in some states, there is very limited 40’ reefer equipment to supply customers!

Global – Fuel Surcharges

Freight forwarders are experiencing many notifications regarding increased fuel charges from airlines, shipping lines and transport companies. This will impact further on business as fluctuating charges are passed on at the time of movement

Like everyone Affairs of State was delighted to hear of the new Free Trade Agreement between Australia and India, knowing that this agreement will create many opportunities for Tasmanian and Australian exporters.

There is a word of caution about forward planning shipments. Check speed and cost to market for new export deals and factor the fact there are currently no direct shipping routes between Australia and India. Shipments would be subject to the congestion experienced at all transit ports. Direct air routes to India are operating and these may be worth exploring for any imports and exports that can effectively travel by air. 

A key focus for the TEFLAS project remains the identification of future demand and the opportunities that a wider market view can present in consolidation, aggregation of freight and coordinated export activities. We look forward to making a difference in these areas and to promoting the benefit of shared supply chains and shipments that could improve the utilisation of the space and capacity that is available.

A number of freight forwarders are working hard to match imports with exporters to ensure containers are fully utilised. This can be difficult particularly as some imports are arriving via shippers that do not have a Tasmanian presence. In these cases containers are simply being returned empty across Bass Strait.

Ongoing cost increases can be further impacted by decisions taken by shipping lines themselves. A recent example has involved offload of shipments destined for Bell Bay in Melbourne, for customs clearance and inspection. This has led to importers being faced with additional delays and significant storage charges. However, we do urge Tasmanian importers and exporters to work closely with their local freight forwarders to ensure the most effective solutions and to support those working hard to minimise the impact of ongoing logistics challenges on Tasmanian businesses.