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Fracht Australia News - June 2020


Antonov Charter of Urgent Medical PPE



“It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

Charles Darwin 


  • CHINA: Early May saw the “worst-ever” air cargo backlog in Shanghai. A perfect storm of lack of uplift, global rush to buy face masks and China’s crackdown on shoddy PPE saw aircraft flying out empty over the Labour Day holiday. There were huge queues and congestion at Pudong warehouses, and a lot of cargo missed flights.  A prepaid charter flight for USD 1.5 million left empty! Apparently several other charter flights suffered the same fate. The congestion spread to other airports including Guangzhou, Zhengzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen. Following these serious problems, a new “gate-in” rule was introduced mandating that cargo may not arrive at the airport more than 28 hours before the flight. This prompted fears that, if PPE shipments get inspected or if Customs orders lab test reports (new conditions), flights might again go empty. However, according to latest reports the situation is improving.
  • SAUDI ARABIA: The Finance Ministry announced that the VAT (value added tax) will increase from 5 to 15% in July as part of moves to support the economy in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic.


  • EMIRATES RESTARTED PASSENGER FLIGHTS on 21 May to nine international destinations including Sydney and Melbourne. Emirates SkyCargo also announced plans to start operating four weekly cargo services via Australia to New Zealand. They are planning three weekly Dubai-Auckland-Melbourne-Dubai services and a once a week Dubai-Sydney-Christchurch-Dubai flight using B777-300ER passenger freighters.
  • ETIHAD RESTARTED ITS MELBOURNE – LONDON route via Abu Dhabi on 21 May.
  • AFTER A FOUR YEAR BREAK MASKARGO started servicing Amsterdam again with a weekly A330F full freighter.
  • AFTER WEEKS OF AIR FREIGHT RATES RISING TO UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS prices appear to be stabilising gradually thanks in part to some airlines restarting passenger flights. It remains to be seen how long this positive trend will continue considering the fact that many factories around the world are re-opening which in turn will increase the demand for international airfreight.
  • IATA RELEASED AN ANALYSIS SHOWING THAT GLOBAL AIRLINE DEBT could rise to USD 550 billion in 2020. That’s a USD 120 billion increase over debt levels at the start of the year. 


  • APPROX. 50 CONTAINERS WERE LOST OVERBOARD and 74 containers damaged on board the MV “APL ENGLAND” when the vessel experienced heavy weather off the coast of NSW at 6.10am on 24 May. Six containers are reported to be protruding from the starboard side of the vessel. The ship was on its way from China to Melbourne but changed course to sail north to minimise the impact of the heavy weather. After further assessment in Brisbane the ship will continue her voyage. Fracht has a small amount of cargo on the APL England and we will liaise closely with our clients as soon as more details become available.  
  • AAL ANNOUNCED A NEW EUROPE – MIDDLE EAST – ASIA monthly liner service operated by their 32,000 dwt A class fleet with 40,000 cbm cargo intake and 700 tonne lift capacity. The new service will follow a fixed route with port call flexibility. The base ports include Antwerp, Porto Marghera, Jebel Ali, Dammam, Mumbai, Singapore, Shanghai, Tianjin and Masan.
  • IN AN EFFORT TO IMPROVE SERVICE RELIABILITY CMA CGM ANNOUNCED AN AMENDED SCHEDULE FOR ITS NEMO SERVICE. The new rotation will be London, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Antwerp, Le Havre, Fos, La Spezia, Malta, Pointe des Galets, Port Louis, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle Singapore, Colombo, Malta, Valencia and London.
  • AS A SAFETY INITIATIVE TO AVOID ACCIDENTS such as a recent container stack collapse Maersk will commence weight verifications of declared container weights. +/- 5,000 kg differences, or VGM weight exceeding  payload as per CSC plate or VGM declared is less than Tare weight of container will incur a “weight discrepancy fee” of USD 100.00 per Bill of Lading.
  • NOW THAT VOLUMES FROM ASIA APPEAR TO BE INCREASING AGAIN, MOST SHIPPING LINES HAVE ANNOUNCED GENERAL RATES INCREASES of USD 150.00 – 200.00 per TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit) to Australia and New Zealand effective 1 June. 


  • The Australian Border Force (ABF) has delivered a temporary elimination of customs duties on certain medical and hygiene products essential for combatting the COVID-19 pandemic such as face masks, PPE equipment, gloves, goggles, sanitisers, disinfectant, soaps, test kits etc. The customs duty reduction applies to imports for the period 1 February to 31 July 2020.
  • In response to advocacy for DUTY PAYMENT RELIEF by Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) where Fracht is a member, the Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that they will consider requests for payment plans and other leniency measures related to COVID-19. These requests will be assessed on a “case by case” basis. 


  • NSW PORTS WERE CLOSED FROM 22to 26 May due to severe weather conditions. Pilotage was suspended in Sydney, Botany, Port Kembla and Newcastle. This led to additional disruptions to vessel schedules already negatively affected by blank sailings and changed ship rotations due to the pandemic.
  • SHIP CANCELLATIONS (BLANKINGS) IN THE PORT OF MELBOURNE doubled in the first four months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 mainly due to COVID-19 issues. The pandemic was also the main reason for the significant 11.3% decline in container volume through the port in the month of April 2020. 


If you would like further information about any of the above items, please contact one of our friendly Fracht Team members at

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