COVID-19 new virus variant Omicron – impact on air and sea freight services

The new COVID-19 virus variant Omicron, which was detected to be widespread in South Africa, has led to some cancellation of passenger flights to and from South Africa.

Apart from this, there are currently no massive restrictions, but it cannot be entirely ruled out that some countries or regions will implement further measures to contain the spread of this virus variant.

This could lead to restrictions on cargo space due to a lack of belly capacity on passenger flights. In addition, Hong Kong Airport has announced that even cargo aircrafts touching Omicron high-risk countries such as South Africa will not be allowed to enter Hong Kong until further notice. Therefore, flight rerouting will be expected.

For the ocean freight sector, there has been no change of the current situation so far. We have only received the information from one shipping company that a new service with South Africa is suspended for two months.

Furthermore, there are also discussions in progress in the Asian market about tightening the COVID-19 rules for ship crews, but these are still under negotiation. Confirmed is only that feeder services from the Pearl River Delta (PRD) to/from South China, including Hong Kong, are also suspended from December to January. This could lead to a challenging situation with trucking capacity and more changes of transport modes to air freight.

The team of DACHSER is in daily contact with all involved parties and doing everything possible to minimize any delays of your shipment. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your local DACHSER representative who will be happy to assist you.

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