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Happy Moon Festival – 中秋节快乐

We would like to wish all our customers a very happy moon festival. 我们祝所有客户中秋节快乐

As we pass the equinox and move into autumn and a new season it is perhaps useful whilst we gaze up at the wonderful sight of the full moon to appraise some of the changes that have happened over the past few months.

It’s certainly been a challenging few months, not just surviving Covid and all its many variants which continue to circulate largely un abated even in countries such as China and Australia who have operated strict lockdown and elimination policies but also the challenges facing logistics and supply changes.  The appetite for shipping companies and vessel owners to fill their coffers continues un abated and shipping prices continue to rise.  There may however be light at the end of the tunnel with a glimmer of possibility that rates may soften a little following the Chinese Autumn holidays – time will tell.  Significant falls are not expected until after Chinese new year next February and some even think that is optimistic.On top of this local difficulties in the UK have heaped further misery on customers with a sever shortage of haulage, congested ports and rising prices.

A new and lucrative industry seems to have sprung up on the back of this inventing new and exciting names for extorting last minute fees out of hapless shippers.  These come under the collective noun of surcharges.  It seems everyone is keen to jump on this exciting new band wagon from shipping lines, port authorities, hauliers and even governments.   The imagination of those charging these fees seems to have no bounds and includes Covid surcharge, Congestion surcharge, driver rentention surcharge, fuel surcharge, storage surcharge, Haulage surcharge, environmental surcharge, service surcharge, customer surcharge, document surcharge, booking surcharge, fuel surcharge, CO2 surcharge, priority surcharge etc.  I am sure you get the gist.  Many of these charges are not levied until the last minute when your goods are already on the vessel or even arrived at the destination leaving you no option but to pay.    The fees demanded are not trivial but often run into many hundreds of pounds per charge and if you are lucky you may have the pleasure of paying several on a single container.   One perhaps could be forgiven for assuming these surcharges would at least lead to a better more efficient or perhaps quicker service.  But no you will be sadly disappointed.  These surcharges come with delays, missed ports, cancellations, containers dropped off en route to await later shipments, vehicle breakdowns, non availability all without a hint of apology.

As we approach the festive season ones mind can’t help wondering if we have entered the pantomime season early in the form of Robin Hood, because in all honesty what we are witnessing is nothing short of highway robbery.   It’s time the trading nations of the world gathered forces to apply pressure and stop this farce once and for all.  Is that likely – in a world where nations can’t even agree on measures to avert catastrophic climate change, unfortunately I suspect not.

Once again 中秋节快乐