Importers should reserve space on charter flights now or risk having insufficient stock to meet the end of year retail rush, a global logistics company warns.
C.H. Robinson, the world’s largest third-party logistics company, says importers are facing a difficult time if they don’t plan well ahead.
A dramatic shortage of space on cargo ships has meant that many Australian importers have literally missed the boat on importing stock for the traditional heavy retail shopping period leading into Christmas and the New Year.
There is limited availability for sea freight, warehouse space is at a premium and mothballed aircrafts will take some time to get back into service to meet increased demand for charters, the company says.
Airfreight may hold the answer to the anticipated shortage of goods in retail outlets, but availability of space on commercial passenger flights and charters is still severely restricted.
And it will get worse, says C.H. Robinson.
Importers who hesitate may find themselves unable to book space or at best pay two to three times what they would pay if they secure space now, says C.H. Robinson Vice President Oceania, Andrew Coldrey.
More airlines diverting planes
“There are less passenger flights to Australia and more airlines are diverting planes and crew to the northern hemisphere where international passenger travel is on the rise,” Mr Coldrey said.
Some global carriers have announced they will cease passenger flights to Australia until at least early next year to focus on an increase in northern hemisphere traffic.
And Australia’s state governments are calling for a reduction in the passenger cap limit. Restrictions on incoming passengers has meant continuing service in the short term is not viable.
“Announcements like these from leading airlines further reduces the options, and charter flights might be the only way importers can shift their goods before Christmas,” says Mr Coldrey.
Booking ahead reduces costs
C.H. Robinson has increased the number of charter flights into Australia to about two a week to service demand from its clients. This week alone, the company has three flights scheduled to Australia from Chicago.
“Our scale and experience in the charter market give us and our customers an advantage where it is critical to get product to market in a tight window,” Mr Coldrey said.
“C.H. Robinson has established arrangements with carriers and our customers are learning that booking ahead reduces costs and offers certainty of supply.
“Our message to importers is to make airfreight decisions early. There is capacity if you know where to look for it.”