March 18th 2020
After France, a lockdown in Belgium was heralded yesterday.
All shops, with the exception of supermarkets, have to close their doors up to April 5th.Herewith an actual sketch of the situation:
The locks work, the towing and pilotage services function as they should and there is no shortage of dock workers.
Operationally, the port of Antwerp and Rotterdam are working properly and we see no impact on the flow of goods.
On Thursday there will be consultations between the Antwerp port companies, the shipping agents, the dock workers, the Maritime Services and Coast Agency (including pilots), the Flemish Waterway, customs and the Dutch and Flemish authorities. It is being examined whether additional measures are needed. The intention is that there will be weekly monitoring.
All transporters continue to carry out the assignment without too many problems.
Transports across European borders, particularly in food, are also carried out without too many problems until further notice.
As you know, all administrative tasks have to be done from home - as do those of the shipping companies.
All this means that the general communication with shipping companies, such as adjustments, rates, etc., is processed with a great deal of delay. We therefore ask you to show the necessary patience.
To date, it was expected that approximately 70% of the standard capacity would be taken back into circulation, this is with regards to both Far & Middle East.
The decline on the export side (mainly in dry) could be a logical consequence for shipping companies to decide to withdraw capacity from the market again. Just like they did in Asia 1 to 2 months ago.
At this very moment we are already receiving news that from week 14 more sailings out of North Europe will be cancelled.
Other trades, such as Africa and (Latin) America remain operational without further capacity adjustments.
The month of April is expected to be an enormous challenge with regard to the availability of equipment.
Especially in the food sector (ai reefer), demand remains high and supply (very) low.
We refer again to an earlier newsletter about the large number of containers (both dry & reefer) that have been blocked for a long time in Asia.
There is no doubt that we will continue to look for solutions to get all cargo - at the best market conditions - to its destination.