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Air Freight Update

(Updated June 29, 2020)

Americas

Restrictions:

  • Canada has closed its borders to non-essential travel. Only four Canadian airports are accepting international flights.
  • Latin America: Argentina and Colombia have banned international flights until Sept 2020, Chile has closed border to all foreigners starting on March 18, Peru has declared a state of emergency and closed borders starting on March 16. Brazil has sealed its borders to nine neighbouring countries.
  • North America : US passenger travel restrictions from Europe including the UK and Ireland are still in place. The US closed its border to non-essential travel with Mexico starting on March 21. The US implemented a travel ban between Brazil and the US on May 28.

Cargo Impact – North Americas

  • North Americas-Europe: Significant passenger flight cargo capacity reductions remain, compensated partially by “passenger freighters” and some newly added passenger flights.  Freighter operations remain stable and space on the trade lane is available with some constraints and reductions in frequencies.
  • North America-Asia: Capacity to main Asian hubs is mostly available as freighter schedules from the US are stable.  Passenger operations are still limited, however. We see continued constraints from Asian transit hubs to secondary destinations due to reduction in intra-Asian passenger flight operations.
  • North America- Middle East and Indian subcontinent: There are significant passenger flight cargo capacity reductions that are partially compensated for by “passenger freighters and some newly added passenger flights.

Cargo Impact – Latin America

  • Latin America-Asia: Significant capacity reductions. In-transit though the US also subject to the same constraints as Asia-Americas trades.
  • Latin-America-USA: Capacity has stabilized but is decreased compared to last year. There has been significant passenger capacity reduction, but added cargo capacity via freighters and “ghost flights.”
  • Intra-Latin America: Significant capacity restrictions, because of passenger flight reductions. Broad travel restrictions are reducing capacity to freighters only, mostly served through Miami.
  • Avianca and LATAM filed for bankruptcy protection. These moves are not expected to affect the carriers’ flight operations in the near-term.

Asia Pacific

Restrictions:

  • Australasia: Australia and New Zealand have announced that borders are closed to all visitors from March 20.
  • China: New restrictions in China restrict Chinese airline carriers to only flying 1 route per week to/from China to all other countries. Foreign carriers may only fly to China once a week, irrespective of the origin point.
  • East Asia: Hong Kong imposed self-isolation requirements for all visitors for 14 days starting on March 19, and is considering mandatory quarantine for all new arrivals. Taiwan has banned entry for most foreigners, and is requiring two weeks of self-isolation for all arrivals.
  • India: The lock down in India has been extended until June 30th, with a continued ban on all international commercial (passenger flights) into India. Airlines have been operating passenger to charter or “ghost flights” for cargo. There are capacity constraints into the US, EU, and FE.
  • Pakistan: International passenger flights were suspended on March 24 as all provinces went into government-mandated lockdown.
  • Southeast Asia: Significant capacity constraints on already squeezed intra-Asian trade lanes, due to a number of new restrictions in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Singapore announced that as of March 22, short-term visitors and transits through Singapore would be halted. Malaysia has extended its lockdown and air border closure to visitors through April 14. Vietnam announced on March 21 that it would halt inbound international flights, and Thailand closed all sea, air and land borders on March 25.

Cargo Impact:

  • Declines on all Asia routes: Wide-body capacity decreases have taken place across all routes to and from Asia-Pacific, according to Seabury.
  • Declines at all key cargo airports: All major Asian airports are showing declines in cargo capacity. Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing show the largest declines in cargo capacity.
  • Continued pressure on China outbound and inbound, but with some signs of recovery: Outbound air freight capacity is under tremendous pressure among all mainland China export markets as production resumes and passenger flight cancellations are sustained. A trend of ocean-to-air conversions exacerbates pressure on capacity outbound China. However, more freighters are entering the market.
  • Customers may want to explore alternative transport models (Sea/Air option or Cross-border truck).
  • Inbound capacity constraints from Europe, the Americas and the Middle East continue as all regions have reduced passenger operations to China.
  • Unprecedented rate surge on intra-Asian lanes: Massive capacity reduction resulting from passenger flight and freighter cancellations. Air freight rates on Intra-Asia lanes are extremely high, volatile and have been increasing rapidly, which are in turn constraining the long-haul export capacity to both Europe and US.
  • Hong Kong: Intra-Asia lanes are experiencing heavy congestion from South China, but the export market from Hong Kong to Europe and US is picking up gradually. We have seen a sharp increase in rates to both Europe and US triggered by new entry restrictions; charter rates have surged.

Europe

Restrictions

  • From March 17 for at least 30 days, the EU has closed off 26 countries – with a combined population of more than 400 million people – to nearly all visitors from the rest of the world.
  • Turkey: Turkey has halted international passenger flights as of March 27, with exceptions for only five routes.  
  • Russia: Russia closed all borders as of March 30.

Cargo Impact:

  • Cargo-only “passenger” flights compensate for a small portion of lost belly capacity. As per Seabury’s latest report, more than 20 carriers have announced cargo-only flights with passenger aircraft; but even if all passenger flights only carried cargo, their current belly capacity would still be 75% lower than it was in January
  • Europe – US: Capacity shortages and considerable increases to spot price rates. Space available with constraints.
  • Europe – China: Significant capacity constraints and surge in rates.
  • Europe – South East Asia: Significant capacity constraints in Europe- South East Asia trades due to the reduction in passenger flights. Rates are soaring.
  • Europe-Middle East: Significant capacity constraints and high rates. 

Middle East & Africa

Restrictions:

  • Arabian Gulf and the Levant: Scheduled Passenger flights with minimum capacity will resume operation in some of the GCC and Levant countries.  UAE, Qatar and Turkey have already started mid-June, while Lebanon and Oman are expected to resume commercial international flights on1  July. Saudi Arabia have resumed domestic flights but have yet to make any official announcement on the resumption of international flights.
  • Iraq: Basra airport operations, for both cargo and passengers, will be on hold until March 25. Baghdad airport operations, for both cargo and passengers, will be on hold until March 25. Najaf airport is closed. Iraq has also partially stopped truck movements at certain border crossings with Turkey.
  • North Africa: Egypt will resume Passenger flights on 1 July, whilst  Morocco has already opened its borders with neighboring countries and started a few scheduled flights to France, Switzerland and Canada. 
  • Southern Africa: Domestic flights resumed in South Africa while there is no news yet on when the airport will open for International passenger flights.  Angola and Mozambique are still restricting passenger flights.  “Essential items” of food, cleaning and hygiene products, and medical supplies are being moved by air freight are given priority over other products.
  • West Africa: Ghana has closed all borders starting March 23, Nigeria closed all borders starting March 23.
  • East Africa: Kenya announced that they will resume international passenger flights on 15 July.  Uganda closed its border as of March 23. Rwanda has also closed its borders to all passenger flights. For both countries, cargo services will continue as normal.

Cargo Impact:

  • Carriers are operating scheduled freighters, but cargo is also moving on an adhoc / unscheduled freighter or charter basis.  
  • Some passenger aircraft from the region’s largest carriers are now being converted into temporary freighters; flying with no passengers on board but with cargo in the hold.
  • Committed capacity can no longer be guaranteed; suspension of all contractual rates and tariffs
  • Rates for charters have doubled
  • Air freight rates have reached unprecedented levels.

IATA

Restrictions:

  • Airline Cargo Operations Status: IATA has added an Airlines Cargo Operations Status page that offers status updates for nearly all of the world’s cargo carriers. On the page, which is searchable by carrier, operations are classified as Normal, Pending Information, Status Suspended, Some Service Impact, and Unknown.
  • IATA Issues New Guidelines for Safe Transport of Cargo in Passenger Cabins: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has issued new guidelines for the safe transport of cargo in the cabins of passenger aircraft. Airlines around the world have been using their widebody aircraft for cargo-only flights that use belly space to move air shipments. Now some wish to use passenger cabins to carry additional air freight. IATA’s guidelines include recommendations and a detailed safety risk assessment for carriers. A letter about the new guidelines from IATA’s CargoIS team is here.
  • Air Cargo Impact Report: IATA release a second COVID-19 Air Cargo Impact report, focusing on market dynamics in mainland China and offering analysis of Hong Kong, Germany, the US and other key cargo markets. (April 24)
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COVID-19 Customer Update for SMA Worldwide and SMA Pallets

Dear Customer,

Like everyone else we have been keeping up to date on the developments.

In partnership with all of our members we have made numerous developments that will help minimise disruption to our services while at the same time placing utmost importance on protecting staff, suppliers, customers and the greater public. These actions are based on medical and government advice and are designed with your safety in mind.

Some of the measures we have taken include:

Reducing contact at the delivery point.

o Change of procedure regarding on-screen signature capture

                § This will now be signed on a piece of paper owned by the recipient and photographed by the driver to be included in consignment notes

o Limiting contact between drivers and hub/warehouse staff

Ensuring continuity at SMA hubs and protecting our staff

o Those staff who are able to will now work from home to reduce the number of people at our sites

o For operational functions where this is not possible, contingencies such as splitting shifts within departments are being implemented to ensure key roles can continue to be carried out

o Rigid hygiene procedures have also been implemented throughout the network

o This allows us to minimise disruption while also ensuring we focus on the health and safety of our employees

Currently Covid19 has not impacted our service offering. Operations continue as normal domestically but with additional measures implemented to help continue this service, protect staff and customers and ensure that essential supply chains across the country remain operational.

International services will be affected due to many countries closing their borders but we will keep you updated with these developments

We thank all of our customers for their support during these unprecedented times and we will send you regular updates to ensure you are kept informed of any developments.

Should you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact your local depot. You can also find more information and government advice on Covid19 here

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Investment gains pace at SMA Worldwide

SMA Worldwide has invested in expanding its fleet to meet the growing demand for freight services across the country and worldwide.

SMA is a member of Palletways, Europe’s largest and fastest growing express palletised freight network. The company has taken delivery of new trucks, in the new company livery, to support its work across the Palletways network. It has also added two double deck trailers, an urban trailer and new vans to the fleet as part of the £100,000+ investment programme.

Dr Attia, chairman at SMA Worldwide, said: “Continually investing in the best equipment and latest technology to maintain and improve our service is paramount to the business, to deliver the best possible service to our customers at home and abroad.  These additions mean we can extend our collection and delivery window for our customers.”

Palletways UK Managing Director, adds: “The Palletways network is growing all the time. It continues to go from strength to strength because of companies like SMA Worldwide who invest in their fleet and deliver customer service excellence.”

Founded in 1982, SMA Worldwide offers a range of logistics, courier and warehousing services. It specialises in worldwide air and sea freight, to all countries and major cities around the globe, as well as secure storage, warehousing, single and multi-pallet distribution, offering a complete logistics and pallet delivery solution across Europe and the UK.  Customers include leading retailers Selfridges and Harrods and the newly awarded University College London account.

SMA is a Platinum Club member of the Palletways network – which recognises those members who attain the very highest service standards. They also now offer their customers the latest new Palletways feature service – ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival). ETA notifies customers of two-hour delivery time slots and consignment contents, which significantly enhances customer service.

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SMA Pallets Ltd breaks new ground with pallet industry ETA technology first

UK-wide road haulage firm SMA Pallets Ltd is the first company in Hertfordshire to provide its customers with an accurate two-hour time delivery window for palletised freight.

The new service is thanks to innovative, game changing technology developed by Palletways, Europe’s largest and fastest growing palletised freight network. SMA Pallets Ltd is one of 100+ independent transport companies who, as part of the Palletways network, are uniquely positioned to offer this service.

Through the ETA system, SMA Pallets will also be able to provide SMS and email notifications to both their customers and consumers. Information is provided to track and trace goods and notify the two-hour window within which the pallet will be delivered.

Alex Stewart, Operations Supervisor at SMA Pallets said: “The number one on our customers’ wish list is to receive two-hour delivery windows together with electronic notifications via mobile phone and email. Our pallet information system is now on a par with only the best parcel operators. No other palletised freight network or operator in the UK has this system.

“Working with Palletways, we’re part of the first pallet network in the UK to offer a comprehensive ETA system. In turn, this provides our customers an advantage over their competitors and a greater ability to manage their logistics and control costs. It’s a win-win on all sides.”

All drivers in the Palletways UK network of over 100 depots are trained to use the ETA App that will enable them to alter routes and delivery times according to traffic conditions and unforeseen circumstances, such as road traffic accidents. This technology offers an added level of certainty to the two-hour delivery windows.

Dave Walmsley, Palletways UK Managing Director, said: “We have been working around the clock for twelve months to make sure that our game changing ETA system is ready to improve the offer of our members, like SMA Pallets, to both the customers of today and the future.

“In addition to our award-winning archway scanning technology, Digital Information Hub and five regional hub depots, our road haulage members have access to cutting-edge tools which provide unrivalled customer service excellence for businesses across the UK needing a pallet freight delivery service.”

SMA Pallets is one of around 400 hundred members of Palletways’ European distribution network, all independent transport operators which share their resources to deliver small consignments of palletised freight to market more efficiently than before.

Notes to Editors

ETA in action – how does the system work?

Step One: The Palletways customer books a consignment;

Step Two: Consignment is collected and transported via a Palletways Hub to the delivery depot. At each stage of the process, delivery notifications are available;

Step three: Upon leaving the delivery depot the notification is sent to the consumer via SMS/ email advising the two-hour delivery window.

About Palletways

Key Palletways stats:

  • Palletways was founded in the UK in 1994
  • In total Palletways handles up to 40,000 pallets daily, including more than 23,000 pallets a day in the UK, 10,000 in Italy and 3,000 in Iberia.
  • One in every four pallets handled by palletised freight networks in the UK is distributed by Palletways
  • During a typical operating day Palletways handles more than one pallet every second.

 

The Palletways Group:

  • Palletways provides an express delivery solution for consignments of palletised freight, and is the leading dedicated pallet network in Europe. The Palletways network operates more depots and handles greater volumes of pallets than any other similar network.
  • Over the past 23 years Palletways has developed a strategic network of more than 400 depots and 17 hubs. It now provides collection and distribution services across 20 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Spain, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.
  • In the UK Palletways has a national hub in Lichfield, Staffordshire, and regional hubs in London, Leeds, Edinburgh and Bristol. It offers a range of express distribution services for consignments of palletised freight across the UK. These include next day, next day AM, timed delivery options, and Economy 2/3 day.
  • The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Denmark are served via a hub operation in Nijmegen.
  • In Germany the Palletways hub operation is in Knullwald (near Kassel).
  • In Italy the national hub is in Bologna with regional hubs in Naples and Milan.
  • The Iberian national hub, serving Spain and Portugal, is in Madrid with regional hubs in Zaragoza and Jaen.
  • Collection and distribution services in France are provided via a subcontracted operation, with three hubs in Paris, Lyon and Montpellier.
  • Palletways Europe GmbH, based in Switzerland, was set up in 2006 to develop pan-European collection and distribution services
  • Palletways Poland is served by a national hub in Łódź.
  • Supporting all the networks is Palletways award winning technology including its unique archway scanning system which captures a photographic image of every pallet which passes through its hubs combined with automated scanning to provide seamless track and trace. Palletways’ Digital Information Hub, a custom developed communications platform provides real time data linking all operations across Europe monitoring all consignments providing total visibility and security of every pallet throughout the whole distribution process to all European destinations.
  • For more information, visit: smaworldwide.com

 

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National Business Awards Finalist

SMA Worldwide: ANNOUNCED AS NATIONAL BUSINESS AWARDS FINALIST

SMA Worldwide has been shortlisted for the QBE Insurance New Exporter of the Year category for the 2016 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards.

SMA Worldwide are able to offer clients a highly attractive and alternative solution to their logistic requirements. In doing so, we built a company that is truly “Client-centric” with a personal approach and bespoke service long since lost by the Integrators. We have also invested in the development of cutting edge software that simply cannot be matched for the service that it provides and its ease of use. The combination of traditional personal service and state of the art IT has proven a huge success and will continue to improve as we move into our 17th year of dedicated service.

Dr Sam Attia, Chairman, said:
“When I heard our company was a finalist in these prestigious awards, I immediately congratulated my team for their great work that has led to SMA Worldwide to be shortlisted.
It is a testament to my team’s dedication and passion. This nomination is a true honour and will strengthen our brand, along with boosting our international and UK clients trust in our products and services. This will help to inspire and drive our team to expand and develop even further over the coming years, and increase our work with the UKTI and the ‘Exporting is Great’ campaign.”

The finalists were chosen from the hundreds of businesses that entered or were nominated across 18 award categories. They will now prepare for live presentations to an expert judging panel who will decide the overall winners.

Described as “the Oscars of great British business” by David Cameron, former Prime Minister, this year’s prestigious award ceremony will take place on Tuesday 15th November, at the Grosvenor House, Park Lane, where the winners will be revealed.

For the first time, Conor McGinn MP recently hosted a reception for the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards at the House of Commons. This enabled finalists to meet fellow entrants, the National Business Awards Advisory Board members, judges (who they presented to in September) and sponsors of each category.

Tom Broughton, Group Brand Director of the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards said: “Due to the high number of entries for this years’ awards, narrowing the entries down to 140 finalists was a difficult task. But through a thorough and comprehensive judging process, the selected finalists demonstrate exceptional quality and diversity across a range of business sectors within the UK. We are now looking forward to the next step of the process and meeting some of the finalists face-to-face.”

Thank you to all our customers and their years of loyalty for getting us to the position we are in now.

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Latest of many awards

SMA Pallets Ltd is delighted to announce that Palletways won the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Award for Operational Excellence 2015 which was presented at an awards dinner at the Lancaster London hotel in October, in the presence of the Princess Royal, the CILT patron. Our entry was based on our Vision 20:20 strategy, covering all aspects of our operation.

 

Our success in these awards reflects positively on the company and reinforces our market leading position. It endorses the decision of our existing customers to use us, attracts those who don’t yet use us and enhances our reputation with all stakeholders. We are proud to share the news of our success with our clients.

 

“As a Platinum Member of Palletways, SMA Pallets Ltd’s KPIs contributed strongly to secure such a prestigious award.” said Selva Pardeep, Operations Manager at SMA Pallets Ltd.

 

 

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The Future Growth Plan

Palletways delivers to 20 European destinations, which is more than any other pallet distributor, and the network consists of 400 depots across Europe of which more than 100 are in the UK.

The Palletways Group’s plans for growth are linked to key developments it has unveiled, which include:

  • A new central hub in Lichfield, which will be fully operational with immediate effect after a successful pilot phase. Situated just 500m from its existing central hub facility, the new facility will increase capacity by 8,000 pallets per day and enable faster turnaround of customers’ goods for onward distribution to their delivery destinations. The site comprises 11,500 square metres of warehouse and sortation space, 750 square metres of office space and a trailer park with capacity for 300 trailers.
  • The extension of its regional operations in London, Oxford and Scotland increasing their capacity by 40%.
  • Within the last 18 months the company has already established a new regional hub in Milan for Northern Italy, a brand new, larger hub in Nijmegen, Holland plus a new Palletways Fulfilment warehouse in the same location to service Benelux and the Ruhr Valley, an extension of their Iberian hub in Alcala de Henares, Madrid plus an extension of their Italian hub in Bologna, Italy.
  • New planned hub facilities in central Germany (Homberg), Southern France (Lyon and Montpelier) and Eastern Europe (location tbc) within the next few months.

 

  • The extension of the group’s distribution network into the Nordic countries. This will further build on the company’s geographical footprint, following recent expansion into Poland and the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in June and Bulgaria and Romania in August.
  • The continued roll-out of the group’s award-winning Digital Information Hub across its networks in Europe. The web-based platform, which was launched in the UK last year, optimises the use of real time data to provide greater operational efficiencies by reducing downtime on telephone calls, increasing vehicle utilisation and enhancing traffic management. It also takes customer service to even higher levels by speeding up the resolution of any distribution issues to ensure deliveries on time, providing real time visibility of consignments and presenting new business opportunities for users of the company’s services based on their current distribution profiles.
  • The introduction of a new online booking facility for customers.

These developments follow the group’s best year to date for volumes handled across its European network, with a current average of 33,000 pallets being delivered every day. This represents an increase of some 12% compared to the previous 12 months.

This year the Palletways group will process more than 8 million pallets with daily averages of 36,000 pallets and seasonal peaks exceeding 40,000 pallets. As the largest and most mature business the UK will handle 60% of these volumes.

“This is an exciting time for our network as we continue to expand, reinforcing our market leadership, our reputation for service excellence and our pan-European capabilities in support our customers’ growth ambitions,” said Luis Zubialde, Managing Director at Palletways UK.

“Our growth into new markets has been supported by our significant and continuous investment in new infrastructure in the UK and abroad and the development of improved communications technology to extend the reach of the business and drive efficiency and performance. We will continue to build on these solid foundations over the coming 12 months.”

“We are already the market leader in terms of both service and volume, our European activity now represents 40% of our overall volumes which is more than the total UK and European volume of any other competitor in the UK. This confirms our group strategy “

Palletways’ Operations Director Mike Harrison added: “Our investment in new infrastructure is a core component of our growth plans.

“The introduction of the new Terminal 2 in Lichfield, together with plans for new facilities in Europe, will provide significantly more capacity and business opportunities for our network.

The seamless introduction of this new facility has increased our members’ efficiency by extending their window of operational opportunity through later collection times and earlier departures.

“As we expand, our investment in these core components will play an essential part in ensuring that we continue to deliver our high standards of service excellence for all our customers.”

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Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme

 

The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) is a voluntary scheme for fleet operators. Its purpose is to raise the level of quality within fleet operations, and to demonstrate which operators are accomplishing its high standards.

 

FORS encourages operators to take a closer look at themselves and identify areas of strength to be exploited and areas for improvement to be addressed. A successful bronze assessment provides an operator with reassurance that their operation is being run safely, efficiently and in an environmentally sound manner. The FORS logo allows potential customers to readily distinguish FORS operators from other operators. Users of fleet operator services may ask that their suppliers are FORS recognised.

 

There are four key areas to this standard:

  • Management
  • Vehicles
  • Drivers
  • Operations

 

Within each section below there are several pieces of information:

  • Requirement
  • Purpose
  • Demonstration
  • Support and Guidance

 

Requirements are primarily based around:

  • Legal compliance
  • Safety
  • Efficiency
  • Environmental protection.

 

 

“SMA Worldwide Ltd are proud to be FORS Accredited. It gives us the perfect platform to monitor, manage and improve our efficiency and service excellence. It is part of the best practice culture we want to put in place across our Organisation.” said Alex Stewart, Operations Supervisor at SMA.

003763 FORS bronze logo (1)

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