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This is the current situation for both sea and air freight. It is not what we want to be able to tell you, but far better that you know what is happening and can use that information to plan.

Sea Freight Update

The situation facing sea shipments from the Far East has worsened in recent weeks. As shipping lines continue to divert vessels around the Cape of Good Hope, sailing times remain elongated.

Port congestion remains a major issue – both here in the UK and in Asia. Equipment shortages are continuing, and shipping lines are implementing a programme of blank sailings in response. Smaller vessels are now also being utilised on Asia-Europe routes.

Here at Gelec, we are seeing a continuing pattern of bookings missing intended vessels and rolling in almost every instance out of YanTian and Hong Kong Ports. We have also been alerted to severe congestion at the Port of Singapore, with reported delays in excess of 7 days.

We encourage customers to consider shipping times from our China factories to Gelec UK to be around 10 weeks, whilst shipments from our Philippines Factories to be around 12 weeks.

Rising Cost of Sea Shipment

Demand on shipments from Asia to Northern Europe is reported to have risen sharply in recent months. High demand during this period of constricted supply is driving up rates from shipping lines.

Shipping rates have increased by more than 200% since November 2023 and approaching similar levels seen back in 2021 and 2022. The most recent information from our shipping agents suggests that this is unlikely to recover in the near future as we approach what is typically seen as peak season. There is currently not enough capacity on the seas to compensate for the longer transit time via Africa and with little sign of this changing anytime soon, Q3 will see continued disruption and a need for revised supply chain management strategies.

Air Freight Update

The ongoing issues facing sea shipments mean that demand for air freight remains high. Flight paths from Asia to Northern Europe are still affected and flight times remain elongated, creating further upwards pressure on rates.

With airlines having to prioritise perishables, most new bookings are waiting longer to depart from Asia. Gelec is encouraging customers to work to quoted lead times wherever possible to mitigate the need for air shipment. Shipments are typically taking in the region of 10-14 days from factory release to arrival in the UK.

The situation continues to evolve and we will endeavour to provide regular updates. Please contact our Sales Team on +44 20 8855 0991 if you have any questions or concerns or require updated pricing ahead of releasing new order coverage. We will, of course, keep you updated as things change.