Key Ports Update
With seasonal events and the resulting closures in the coming weeks, our teams are working to provide solutions for customers and keep their supply chains moving. In April, we will see closures during the Easter weekend across the region, as well as local holidays such as King’s Day and Liberation Day in the Netherlands. To give maximum transparency to our customers, our schedules and network have been pre-advised during this period. For more details, see our customer advisory.
After the earthquake that sadly hit Turkey and Syria at the beginning of February, logistics operations in the area have effectively stopped. The Port of Iskenderun remains closed at this time, and we continue to serve our customers from the Port of Mersin. As soon as the terminal at Port of Iskenderun is back in function, we will resume our service to the Port. Stay up to date on the latest developments on our dedicated advisory page.
In France, a series of strikes that started on 19 January are impacting our logistics operations. At the moment, a national strike is taking place until 17 March 06:00am, resulting in contingencies affecting vessels. Our teams are working hard on minimising impact to customers by finding alternative solutions and diverting cargo where appropriate. As the situation is constantly evolving, we will keep customers updated on the dedicated advisory page.
To improve delivery to customers, various actions are in play including launching proforma changes to our Trans-Atlantic (2M) network to improve the reliability. This will enable us to accelerate our strategy and create improved end-to-end, reliable, sustainable and flexible solutions for our customers.
All European Hubs and primary Gateway Terminals are stable at this time, and we have sufficient availability of dry and reefer equipment to cover planned requirements for customers. Whilst weather conditions are expected to gradually improve as we move into spring, weather related disruptions can still pose a risk during this time of year. Our teams continue to monitor situations across terminals and ports and working on mitigating any potential disruptions for our customers.
For latest updates on your cargo, sign up for ETA notifications here.
As trade dynamics are continuing to change around the world, Maersk teams are analysing schedules and making changes in the interest of enhancing supply chain predictability for customers.
With this and slowing global demand in mind, we recently announced that we have structurally suspended the AE1 Far East Asia to Europe service and will be redistributing vessels / coverage for the suspended corridors on remaining services. Read the announcement here for more details.
As a result of the injection of additional vessels on the Asia-Europe routes, Maersk will increase the resilience of the ocean network to absorb delays effectively. This will improve schedule reliability and predictability for our customers, while also reducing carbon emissions to support businesses’ and our own sustainability goals.
For customers, this means planning can be executed with a significantly lower variation. The advertised transit times will marginally increase but they are expected to be in many cases comparable to today when factoring in the observed delays.
We will continue to assess changing situations within the ocean network in Europe and make the necessary adjustments for the benefit of our customers’ supply chains.
Elsewhere, Maersk has continued to monitor the situation in Ukraine is now offering direct bookings to the country from around the world.
To do so, we have launched a weekly barge service from the Port of Constanta, Romania, to the Port of Reni, Ukraine, across two routes with a transit time of 1.5 days. A frequent customer pain point over the past year has been the inability to book directly to Ukraine, so we’re pleased to once again offer this service. Click here to head to our booking page.
Should you have any questions about new Maersk contingency measures in Europe, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your local Customer Experience representative.
Air Freight Update
Geopolitical and economic factors are still having a noticeable impact on the air freight market, with consumer demand around the world remaining reflective of the turbulent financial situation. This is mirrored in global freight volumes, which according to recent data from Seabury and WorldACD, were 16.6% lower in January 2023 than in January 2022. However, the market trend is beginning to move upwards again and capacities are increasing.
In Germany, unpredictable factors caused repeated disruptions throughout February. An IT failure at Lufthansa led to more than 200 cancelled flights at Frankfurt Airport, before thousands of flights to and from other German airports were cancelled due to strike action in a dispute over wages. Fresh strikes also took place on 13th March across numerous airports, forcing more flights to be cancelled. Strike action is possible at short notice until negotiations are agreed between the concerned parties and we will keep you informed of any further information as soon as possible.
Although pressure on supply chains around the world is easing and current economic conditions are expected to put downward pressure on Air Freight rates, it is highly unlikely that rates will return to 2019 levels. Currently, rates remain flat due to continued relatively unpredictable demand and supply dynamics for space availability in most countries.
Uncharacteristically, jet fuel prices do not move in sync with crude oil trends. Price developments remain volatile, the background to which is the number of embargoes on Russian imports to Europe as well as renewed growth in Chinese demand for fuel. In February, the average was $2.90 per gallon.
On 20th March, Maersk Air Cargo commenced flights between Billund, Denmark, and Hangzhou, China, to add further agility to customer supply chains. Further details on the new route can be found here. For more information on our air network expansion and the latest developments, click here.
As Unions in France confirmed a nationwide strike until 17 March at 06:00am, inland operations within the country have been impacted. For more information, head to our advisory page.
All trains have been cancelled at both the Port of Le Havre and the Port of Fos sur Mer, with containers being stored on inland depots. Our teams are analysing the situation, redirecting cargo where possible, and looking for alternative transport options such as truck transport.
Should strikes continue in the coming months as parties remain in talks, we will do all we can to minimise the impact on your supply chain and will communicate the latest contingency measures with you.
Maersk teams have been closely monitoring water levels on the Rhine in recent weeks after they fell low in the early part of the year. As of 10th March, levels are no longer classified as low and barge services in Europe continue operate as normal.
For more information on inland services, click here.
On the consumer side, the continued concern over inflation and rising prices is resulting in a lower consumer spend, and consequently having an impact on the overall economic situation. Consumer confidence and optimism continue to decrease, with all categories except groceries, gasoline, and pet food expected to see a lower consumer spend (McKinsey).
Four out of five consumers report changing their shopping behaviour in the last months of 2022, and nearly half plan to make changes in the coming months. In an effort to save disposable income, consumers are not only turning to private labels, but 9% plan to try new digital shopping methods, while 12% plan to switch to shopping from different websites.
To increase customer loyalty and build stronger relationships with consumers, brands continue to focus on direct-to-consumer approach and look for new solutions to enhance their growth. Optimising post-purchase experience can be one of the ways to increase consumer satisfaction and retention, including updating delivery options to include convenient out-of-home deliveries. Read more about the potential of out-of-home deliveries here.
Maersk teams are working on enabling access to multiple warehouses and last-mile carriers to support growth of our customers’ brands and offering control over their supply chain.
To learn more about Maersk’s offering for parcel deliveries, head to the E-Delivery portal here.
Last month, we assessed the latest details on the EU’s Import Control System 2 (ICS2) update, which was scheduled to go live on 1st March 2023. However, it has now been announced that the EU has approved a derogation for certain member states postponing the implementation of ICS2 until the end of June 2023.
During that time, it is possible to continue to submit data in the current ICS format and timeline until this date. Member States granted a postponement are Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece, Croatia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and Austria.
In parallel, some of Europe's largest air cargo hubs have advised they are not PLACI-ready (Pre-Loading Advance Cargo Information). The provision allows for dual filing by an economic operator who's not the air carrier to submit certain data to the EU and gain assessment complete status pre-loading.
Elsewhere, the UK Government is undertaking a reform of alcohol duty rates and reliefs to standardise approval requirements for alcohol producers and importers. Goods covered will include spirits, beer, cider, wine, and other fermented products.
A new rate structure and a temporary easement for wine made from grapes between certain ABV (alcohol by volume) will commence on 1 August 2023; the easement will run for 18 months.
Also regarding the UK, a new agreement has been made between with the EU concerning the long-debated Northern Ireland Protocol. The implementation will be in two phases: proposed agri-food sector changes are scheduled to start in October 2023, while customs arrangements will commence in October 2024.
Our teams at Maersk Customs Services are ready to support you as the above changes come into play and are more than happy to discuss full details with you.
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