4 © Alphaspirit

Forwarders have urged the industry to work together, putting rivalries aside, so they can continue to provide services.

Brain Bourke, chief growth officer at Seko Logistics, said the coronavirus crisis “has really stepped up the need for forwarders to find new ways to cooperate”.

“I wouldn’t even call it co-opetition, I think it’s gone beyond that.

“There aren’t enough aircraft to go around, and the lines of communication need huge improvement because the charter companies aren’t able to do it.

“There may well be three forwarders round me right now who have enough to fill a 747, but who is going to coordinate it?”

The constant changes to the market mean that forwarders cannot take their eye off the ball, even for a few hours, in case they miss out on capacity, he said.

“The real priority is air freight and you have to constantly monitor it – if you take your eye off the market for even a few hours, you can miss obtaining capacity.

“We are doing charters, we are doing soft BSAs, hard BSAs, pallet positions – name a scenario, and we are doing it.

“Air freight to Europe is incredibly difficult right now, because the capacity has always been so readily available in bellies, and now that passenger flights have disappeared so has that capacity.

“Australia and New Zealand are now also facing restrictions, so we are chartering from China to the US, with stops in Sydney and Auckland.”

He added that the daily, and significangt changes in each country’s policy made it very hard for trade to move.

“After the US ban on passenger flights from the Schengen area came in , that took out 75% of capacity. So by the next day were looking at moving goods out of the UK, but then the ban was extended there. Then we looked at charters – but charter flights don’t go to the UK as much; they mostly go to continental airports like Liege and Luxembourg.

“Then everyone was looking to fly through Canada, which was positioned to be come a kind of Freeport and truck across the border to the US, but then there were new restrictions on that.”

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