China's Freight Industry Recovers from COVID-19

May 10, 2020

China is on a steady road to recovery following the relaxation of stringent COVID-19 restrictions.

On 2 May, coronavirus epicentre Hubei became one of the last provinces to lower their COVID-19 emergency response level. The decision came as new community transmitted infections plateaued near zero, with most of China’s emerging cases acquired overseas.

As mandatory self-quarantine periods lapse and pandemic strictures ease, businesses and factories have reopened with additional control measures.

Subsequently, production capacity has been largely restored. Trucking operations have also returned to normal, with trucking capacity meeting market demand.

Skeleton flight schedules have resulted in volatile rates and lower air cargo capacity. However, extra charter services are helping offset lost cargo space. For instance, 1989 cargo flights serviced China for the week beginning 20 April, a 17.7% increase from the week prior.

Sea terminals, depots and customs are operating as usual according to the Supply Chain and Logistics Working Group. Shipping lines ANL, COSCO, Hamburg Sud, Maersk, MSC, and OOCL all confirmed that China to Australia services have mostly returned to normal. However, Asia-Europe and transpacific voyages have limited free space due to blank sailings and sizeable backlogs of rolled cargo.

Additionally, Seabridge’s Shenzhen office is open at full productivity, with staff adhering to strict safety measures to minimise the risk of infection.

China has already reported a strong bounce back from COVID-19 with outbound shipments rising 3.5% in April from the year prior, although not immune to future regression. As Australia’s and New Zealand’s top trading partner, the resumption of business in China is an encouraging sign for Australasian trade.

Seabridge has extensive experience in moving freight to and from China quickly and affordably. To arrange your shipment, please contact your local Seabridge representative on 1800 727 195.