Running essential supply chains

Despite the continuing lockdowns in the UK and overseas, blanked voyages and grounded aircraft, Metro Shipping is planning, uplifting and transporting medical, PPE and non-essentials cargo by air and sea.

Globally Metro ship 350,000 teu containers (FCL) each year and have core carrier agreements, across each alliance, which means we can protect space, even as the lines blank sailings.

Our most popular weekly LCL consolidation services, continue to operate normally to and from popular sourcing origins, while air consolidation services have been interrupted by the Covid-19 outbreak, in particular form China and the US.

To counter this air freight disruption we have enhanced our Sea/Air services, with more frequent departures across China and flexible routing, to provide a greater choice of transit and rates, which has been particularly useful in developing resilient PPE supply chains.

From the earliest days of the pandemic Metro has been working with customers repurposing supply chains for medical equipment and those seeking direct global imports of the most essential products.

Working closely with our network partners in China, we liaise directly with factories across the country to try and coordinate transport with order availability, as nothing is coming out on time.

Obtaining the required quality control and accreditation’s is critical as new export controls has made a huge difference to the customs process in China, adding two days to the process and some goods being refused by China customs, so they can’t be exported even though delivered to the airport at origin.

The massive demand to move essential cargo and the severe shortages of direct air freight capacity from China has driven rates up to their highest ever level, 500 to 600% over what would be expected in a normal market.

And we are having to pay carriers/airlines in advance for the movement of PPE products, which has been a game changer, because if shippers hesitate, they simply lose the space to another.

In a relatively short period we have shipped millions of PPE units into the UK on scheduled capacity, PAX freighters and part charters.

When we have a little time to play with our Sea/Air service by Dubai adds a few days transit and saves a fortune on freight rates.

But speed is key and with our partners facing the same challenges into Europe and the US, we are currently looking at a charter programme.