IF MAJOR transshipment ports remain congested or closed due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, shipments of Cebu exporters could be affected through Christmas, Philippine Export Confederation Inc. (Philexport) Cebu executive director Fred Escalona said.
“The logistics crisis will definitely affect all shipments around the globe without exception. If this problem persists until the third quarter, then all goods, especially perishables, will be affected through Christmas,” Escalona told SunStar Cebu.
Majority of Philippine imports and exports pass through transshipment ports, some of which have reported congestion due to the pandemic.
“China and the US have closed their big ports and could add more costs and challenges to world trade. Port closures are mainly due to Covid-19,” Escalona said.
The lack of vessel space, soaring freight rates and container shortage have resulted in shipment delays and huge losses.
“The logistics crisis is a global problem, and not only the Philippines will bear the brunt of its effects,” Escalona said.
He said imported items that could avoid delays are e-commerce items shipped for example by Lazada, Shopee and other online shopping platforms.
“Volume orders that we import and export could encounter delays if not done way ahead of time subject to availability of vessel space. Perishables will be a big challenge as these could arrive at a destination with high landed due to storage cost, demurrage, higher shipping costs and more expensive containers,” he said.
On Aug. 18, Wednesday, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) encouraged Philippine-based importers and exporters to make the necessary operational adjustments as delays in the delivery of cargo loom because of the partial closure of several ports in China due to Covid-19.
The PPA said in the past two weeks, several transshipment ports under the territories of China have slowed down operations due to Covid-19.
Ningbo Port, the world’s third largest container port, shut one of its terminals for the seventh straight day due to the virus, particularly the Delta variant.
The PPA said early preparation is key to reducing the negative impact of the delays in their overall daily operations, thus allowing them flexibility in the long run.
Other major ports in the region likewise reported congestion owing to the effects of the pandemic. (JOB)