China Traders Resort to Airfreight to Bypass Congested Ports and Replenish Inventory
Chinese manufacturers of clothing and footwear for US companies, like Nike and Ralph Lauren, are using more expensive air freight to bypass congested ports and replenish inventory, reports Chinese financial media outlet Yicai.
According to civil aviation data service VariFlight, driven by demand, the number of round-trip cargo flights between China and the US has shown an uptrend since September, and cargo flights from China to the US is about twice the number of cargo flights from the US to China.
Wu Minghua, a veteran industry analyst said at least one-third of the China-US air cargo capacity is missing, compared with the first half of the year, due to longer waiting times at US ports and booming Christmas demand.
Amid the capacity shortfall, some airlines are adding more flights. FedEx now has 225 flights in and out of the Asia-Pacific region each week. The situation is expected to on;y begin to ease in February as demand and supply gradually return to normal after the Lunar New Year period.
“Companies don’t have much choice, even though air transport costs a lot more than sea transport, because otherwise, they may miss the Christmas season,” said China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing director Kang Shuchun.
A cross-border logistics agent in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province, said that the current air shipment period from Shenzhen to Los Angeles is around nine to 12 working days, about one week longer than in ordinary times.
“The main reason is the lack of cargo flights between China and the US, and transit shipments passing through third countries may take more time,” said the agent.
Due to the lack of air cargo capacity, shipments are only loaded at least four to five days after they arrive at the agency’s garage in Shenzhen.