European Partners Update
Our team continues to meet multiple times a day via conference call with our European partners to remain current with the state of the market for air and sea freight capacity and the state of business. Our goals are to relay the most accurate information to our customers, to continue to proactively work to protect space and rates, and to work within the confines of a fluid situation for capacity with planes, trucks and ships.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador showed willingness to reach an agreement with the United States to restart operations in complementary industrial sectors for both economies, such as the automotive and agricultural, which have been stopped as preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19.
“In due course, there’s going to be an agreement, when they open, and we have committed, especially with national businessmen, to analyze these openings to little by little return to productive normalcy in the border,” said the President in his daily press conference.
There has been no new significant return of passenger flights. However, an increasing number of carriers, both US and domestic, are continuing to operate cargo-only flights utilizing their passenger aircraft. European operators were granted an exemption by their authority to load cargo in the passenger cabin on the main deck and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration recently did the same, opening the door for U.S. carriers like United, American and Delta to carry more freight on their aircraft.
U.S. carriers are also increasing their frequencies between major cities, meaning that there are an increasing number of opportunities to secure air freight capacity. Please speak with your TOC representative to learn more and get a quote.
We have received confirmation from several of our key carrier partners that there are no additional blank sailings scheduled for May or June on the trans-Atlantic. Carriers are working to balance the freight that is moving with the capacity they have in the marketplace right now.
For our clients who have been sharing forecasting data on an ongoing basis, we have secured space for pre-bookings for future sailings. If there are critical shipments that require protected space on the trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific, share this information with your account manager as early as possible because it is a process for us to request and secure space at this time.
Germany Opening In Slow, Controlled Fashion:
We have received guidance from ProTrans that this week, shops and malls began reopening throughout Germany. Schools will reopen in early May in Germany and in the Scandinavian countries.
Germany was able to accomplish this through rigorous testing of a large and representative percentage of the population—a level that the United States is still working to reach.
There are rules, though, including that everyone must wear masks when going shopping or to public places.
At a factory level, suppliers are informing us that truck drivers coming to pick up and drop off cargo are subject to temperature scans and are expected to wear a mask and gloves to protect themselves and others. Suppliers are refusing to load drivers who will not submit to having their temperature taken.
Because the rules are being imposed on a company-by-company basis, we are working with each factory and asking before sending a driver what their particular requirements are in advance to ensure a successful pick up or delivery.
Export Control Checks Declining:
The EU, like the United States, has imposed restrictions on the exports of certain items which could be used to produce PPE or other medical equipment for health care workers and others battling COVID-19.
The first week these restrictions were imposed, we saw 3,000 Customs checks applied in the north Germany ports. The customs authorities have now done a better job refining reviews of manifests, booking and documents and at last report, that figure dropped to only 200 per week.
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