David Wystrach, Senior Director of Air Freight EMEA has warned of the impact of coronavirus on imports. Although it is still too early to predict the long-term impact, it is clear that sales revenue and inventory levels have dipped for many importers.
“The slowdown in manufacturing in China has meant we’re already seeing the impact of fewer goods reaching European shores. In the last four weeks alone, North Europe carriers have implemented 17 blank sailings (a sailing cancelled by the carrier), resulting in close to a 40% drop in sea capacity over the last four weeks. Coronavirus has worked to exacerbate already reduced capacity following Chinese New Year (when manufacturing slows and stops in China), and we’re seeing consumer goods companies in particular reducing import volume. As a result, airfreight has increased as importers look to mitigate the impact of delays, however capacity has not been helped by a reduced number of passenger flights.
“In the coming weeks we’re expecting import capacity to increase to 84%, but imports will remain lower than normal for this time of year. As a result, we could see inventory shortages, particularly in seasonal summer products.”