The rapid spread of coronavirus and the resulting containment measures put in place around the world is affecting freight capacity availability and rates for shipping lines, airlines, hauliers and rail companies.

Photo credit: deugro

Out-of-gauge and heavy lift shipments are feeling the impacts of this deficit in freight capacity across all modes – these cargoes require special equipment and engineering work, which limits the number of alternative solutions for transportation.

At deugro, Pavel Kuznetsov, head of air chartering, said that there is a rising demand for airfreight solutions, particularly in the full/part charter segment. “The airfreight division of deugro is currently arranging a growing number of air charters for the transportation of critical equipment in order to minimise delays and disruptions in the supply chain. Our team, which includes in-house transport engineers, is busy and in close contact with clients and airlines to design solutions for transportation of oversized and heavy weight equipment by air.”

Similarly, Blue Water Shipping said that, air charter options have become “more and more relevant and useful”.

The company’s road transport operations are facing delays and difficulties as a result of closed/restricted border crossings. This includes the risk of truck drivers ending in quarantine, if they have to deliver goods in restricted areas.

“At the moment it is still possible for planes to use most airports as long as they only carry cargo, and then the locals can take over from there,” said Blue Water Shipping, which added that passenger charters are also still possible if permission is granted by the local authorities.

The types of aircraft deployed for critical shipments, according to deugro, range from the relatively small Boeing 737 freighter to the Antonov AN-225, which is capable of carrying up to 250 tonnes.

“In the current situation, it has become essential to combine what is currently available, and to undertake 360-degree planning across all capacity and transportation modes. Besides utilising empty ferry legs, combining scheduled and charter services or using a mix of several aircraft types, air transportation combinations with ocean, road and rail is a highly viable solution,” said deugro.