Reference News Network reported on October 13 Japanese media said that the new crown pneumonia epidemic has caused a stagnation in international logistics, which may affect the end of the US shopping season. The cuts in sea and air freight have resulted in tight shipping capacity. U.S. retailers’ inventories have fallen to historically low levels, while freight rates for container ships have hit new highs. If the U.S. market, which leads global consumption, performs poorly in the largest shopping season of the year, it may delay the recovery of the global economy.
According to a report by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun on October 11, according to a person in the Japanese shipping industry, at this time in previous years, the freight rate of container ships from China to the United States has almost ended and the price increase has stabilized, but the situation this year is slightly different. . According to data from Hong Kong Freights, in late September, the sea freight from China to the west coast of the United States exceeded $3,900 per 40-foot container (1 U.S. dollar is about 6.8 yuan-this net note), which is nearly 3% of the price in the same period last year. Times, a record high. In October, prices continued to rise.
According to reports, the impact of tight capacity has already appeared. Stimulated by the end-of-year business wars that lasted from Black Friday in late November to the Christmas shopping season in December, a large number of home appliances, furniture, and toy products are shipped from China and other Asian countries to the United States from July to October every year. If it is shipped from China to the west coast of the United States, it will take nearly three weeks. However, due to the impact of the epidemic this year, the speed of logistics has decreased and the demand for goods has also decreased. Since the spring, global shipping giants have reduced freighter schedules. Some shipping companies said that the cuts in May reached 20% of the planned ones. Although the summer began to show signs of recovery, it still failed to restore the decline.
The report pointed out that the US retail industry is also facing a significant shortage of goods. As of July, inventory has been reduced by more than 10% compared with the same period last year. The ratio of inventory to sales fell to 1.23, the lowest level since 1992.
Home appliance sales giant Best Buy and home building materials retailer Home Depot have begun to suffer from exhaustion of inventory of dishwashers, microwave ovens, and refrigerators in some regions. As more and more people are forced to work from home, the demand for home appliances has soared. Sometimes customers have to wait several months to arrange delivery after placing an order. Many companies have begun to adjust their business strategies, such as extending the discount promotion period to the end of December to avoid crowded shopping and insufficient inventory.
The report also said that the transportation demand of personal protective equipment is still growing, but the pick-up speed of freight trains is still slow. Until September, the freight frequency between China and the United States remained nearly 5% below the planned frequency. In recent years, the shipping industry, which has always been accused of oversupply, remains highly vigilant to prevent the rapid increase in the number of flights leading to a decline in freight rates and a sharp drop in demand after the end of the commercial war.
The report pointed out that improving the loading rate of containers is a more concerned one among all emergency response measures. The Japanese branch of a foreign-owned shipping company received an order from the headquarters to transfer vacant containers in Japan to China and other Asian countries. Yosei Goto, a researcher at the Japan Maritime Center, said that compared with the scale of freight transport between China and Europe and the United States, the demand for transportation in Japan, where consumption recovery is weak, is not strong.
According to reports, air cargo capacity is also tight. The TAC index shows that the freight price of the route from Hong Kong to North America is currently at 43 Hong Kong dollars (about 37 yuan) per kilogram, which is more than 20% more expensive than in early July.
Since air cargo is often completed through the belly compartment of passenger aircraft, the reduction in the movement of people caused by the epidemic has also led to a corresponding reduction in the number of flights. Professional air cargo companies have increased their capacity by nearly 30% by increasing the number of flights, but still cannot offset the impact of the reduction in passenger flights. The overall capacity of the air cargo industry is still 30% less than last year. With the launch of Apple’s new products and Sony’s PS5 game console, the demand for short-term cargo flights has increased, but it is difficult to determine whether to increase flights for the entire industry.
Europe will also usher in the end of the shopping season, and land transportation from China is also accelerating. As of August, the number of China-Europe freight trains in 2020 has exceeded 90% of the entire year of 2019, and it is expected to exceed 10,000 trains throughout the year. How to arouse the desire of consumers who are forced to stay at home? The commercial war at the end of the year will undoubtedly become a test, and the top priority is to eliminate the obstacles caused by poor logistics.
This article is reproduced from State Reading Network.
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Post time: Oct-16-2020