Coronavirus COVID-19 | January Updates

January 14, 2021

Read the latest on Operations and Carrier updates. For questions, comments, or assistance, please contact us.

As we welcome 2021, we reflect on the many challenges 2020 presented. At Crane Worldwide Logistics, we are equipped to navigate the changes to best support our clients. We will continue to monitor the situations globally to keep you informed.

To see our previous updates, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center. For the latest on Brexit, follow this link.

Many countries have entered into lockdown; however, all of our facilities and warehouses are still operational. We have warehouse space available, ground transportation options globally, and book air charters and fill space on ocean carriers.

Week 02 (January 10 - 16)

Ocean Operations

Port Houston imports up 26% in December.

  • Despite the weighty impact of the coronavirus on U.S. port volumes last spring and summer, Port Houston narrowly missed a record-setting year for container traffic.
  • During its record 2019, Port Houston handled 2,990,175 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Thanks to a resurgence of imports that began in late summer, Port Houston moved 2,989,347 TEUs in 2020.
  • The container influx continued in early winter. December’s volume was up 4% year-over-year, from 253,830 TEUs in 2019 to 264,626 in 2020.
  • The big jump in December came in loaded imports, up 26% year-over-year to 126,771 TEUs. That made for the second-highest month ever for loaded imports at Port Houston. Incidentally, the best month for loaded imports was just recorded in October. (Source: JOC).
  • Port of Houston is going to start the project of expanding the channel in 2021. Project 11 will widen the channel by 170 feet along its Galveston Bay reach, from 530 feet to seven hundred feet. This will allow a larger vessel to call the port.

Ocean Port Operations Status

Ports of Houston and New Orleans will proceed with expansion and dredging plans for 2021 due to new services and larger vessels arriving.

  • Prince Rupert and Vancouver: Vessel wait time is 4-5 days, Port delays are an additional 3-5 days
  • Seattle: Fri 1/15 – T18 and T30 all day closed.
  • Los Angeles/Long Beach:
    • Thu 1/14 – ETS and YTI 2nd shift closed.
    • Fri 1/15 – ETS, PCT, Pier A, and YTI 2nd shift closed.
    • Mon 1/18 – YTI 2nd shift closed.
      • Vessel wait time is 10+ days
      • IPI On Dock Rail delayed 7+ days
      • Major Chassis shortages, delaying MLB/Doors, average LALB MLB dwell is 3+ days, some stragglers aging to 7+ days
      • Cargo is buried, expediting of containers from any terminal after discharge is quite difficult
      • Due to continuing stay-at-home-orders for the LALB area due to hospitalization surge, delays for vessels, rail, and trucking are expected to increase significantly over the next 3 weeks.
  • New York/New Jersey: Vessel wait time is 4-5 days.

Commercial Air Operations Update

IATA released an information page listing airlines' status globally, which is free for all to access. Visit the page here.

Charter Operations and Aircraft Availability

What charters do Crane Worldwide Logistics have available?

  • Capacity is available for charters globally. Contact us for current rates and availability.
  • If you have an opportunity, send us the details, and we can work on the current part charter capacity and pricing. Charter prices are based on current availability, and that could change rapidly. Size and rates have been fluctuating a lot over the past few days.
  • Crane Worldwide Logistics must have a signed charter authorization from our client before signing the charter contract with the provider.  Make sure you have someone standing by to sign agreements; capacity and rates change quickly.
  • On all charters, funds must be received from our client before wheels up.

Air Freight Update

  • Emirates - On January 11, 2021, Dubai air carrier Emirates announced its plan to expand operations in the United States amid increased air travel demand. Emirates currently serves 114 destinations on six continents. Emirates will re-launch non-stop operations to Seattle from February 1, 2021, Dallas, and San Francisco from March 2, 2021, growing its North American network to 10 destinations. Flights to/from Seattle (four weekly flights) and Dallas (three weekly flights) will be operated with two-class Boeing 777-200LR aircraft. Four weekly flights to/from San Francisco will operate on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, following the resumption of services to Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York JFK, Toronto, and Washington DC. Dubai carrier Emirates will also be providing additional flights to New York, Los Angeles, and Sao Paulo. Effective February 1, 2021, Emirates will be operating double daily flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and a daily flight to Los Angeles (LAX). In South America, Emirates will be introducing a fifth weekly flight to Sao Paulo from February 5, 2021.
  • Qatar - Has started rerouting flights to pass through Saudi Arabia airspace after the two countries agreed to lift the border blockade. “This evening, Qatar Airways began to reroute some flights through Saudi airspace,” tweeted Qatar's national carrier. The first flight to fly over Saudi Arabia after the lifting of the blockade was Qatar Airways flight QR1365. The flight departed at 8:45 pm from Doha and arrived at 4:35 am in Johannesburg on January 8, 2021, according to FlightRadar24 data. The communication between the Qatar Airways pilots and the Saudi air traffic controllers is restored, and the airline will be able to save on fuel and flight time. Iranian media reported that Qatar has been paying around $100 million per year to use Tehran’s airspace to bypass Saudi Arabia. Restored air links will be also important for Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup. On January 4, 2021, Saudi Arabia and Qatar agreed to reopen airspace, sea, and land borders for the first time after three years. The sanctions on Qatari aviation, known as the Gulf Blockade, were imposed after Qatar was accused of supporting terrorism by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain as well as Egypt. In July 2020, Qatar Airways announced it was seeking at least $5 billion in compensation from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain for blocking it from their airspace. The airline claimed the measures specifically targeted its operations and caused damage to its investments. Qatar is said to have agreed to drop lawsuits seeking compensation.
  • Lufthansa Cargo - Has imposed security charges for all cargo departing the UK on-road feeder services (RFS) for onward flights out of its European hubs. Following Brexit, EU law no longer recognizes trucked cargo from the UK as secure and requires such goods to undergo rescreening before onward flights. Lufthansa told customers their cargo departing the UK via RFS would be subject to ‘security charges for unknown cargo’ of £0.15/kg ($0.20), or a minimum of £17.25. The carrier said: “We are legally obliged to follow this new ruling,” adding it would be “voicing our concerns to the respective EU ministers”.
  • Although Lufthansa and thus far Cargolux appears to be the first carriers to publish details of additional charges, there are expectations more carriers will. The Loadstar approached Air France-KLM Cargo to ask if it would impose similar surcharges, but the carrier did not respond before publication.
  • Brexit aftermath - As Britain officially leaves the European Union bloc and the UK citizens become third-country nationals, confusion arises in the airports around Europe. Spain denies entry UK citizens flying to their homes in Spain have been stopped from boarding a joint British Airways-Iberia flight to Madrid as the carrier claimed their pre-Brexit residency papers were no longer valid. In an effort to contain the new COVID-19 mutation, Spain has banned all but Spanish nationals and residents flying from the UK to Spain on December 22, 2020. Even if the UK passengers had the green card as proof of residency, some were still denied boarding the flight. “This should not be happening, the Spanish authorities have reconfirmed again this evening that the green residency document will be valid for travel to return to Spain as stated in our travel advice,” British Embassy in Madrid wrote in a tweet. Iberia issued a statement explaining that on January 1, 2021, it had received an email from border police ordering it to not recognize the proof of legal residency in Spain as a British national. However, the next day it received another one, confirming that documents could in fact be used if they are not expired. Around 300,000 British citizens are registered as permanent residents in Spain.
  • Other EU countries follow on January 1, 2021, thirteen British nationals were stranded at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) as they were subject to the third-country coronavirus regulations and their trips were not essential, according to a Dutch border force spokesman Robert van Kapel. People from safe countries are allowed to pass, but the UK is certainly not a safe country right now,” Van Kapel said. He added that some travelers were going on a visit to Amsterdam or for a skiing holiday. “That’s just not the intention now,” Van Kapel said. Germany banned the flights from the UK on December 20, 2020, and extended it to January 6, 2021. Travelers from the UK with proof of residency in Germany could enter the country from January 1, 2021. However, a number of British citizens were banned from entry into Germany, as Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) did not accept their residency permits. A spokesperson from Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) said that apart from a few difficulties “the vast majority of travel by air from and to the UK is still running smoothly “Travelers on the Ryanair flight to Pisa, Italy, also reported similar issues. The exact number of flights and passengers affected has not been released by the UK Foreign Office, reported the BBC News.
  • Post-Brexit changes - Since the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1, 2021, Britons can travel to the EU only with a valid reason and if they have at least six months left on their passport. They are also no longer eligible to use the EU fast-track passport control. A passenger must be ready to present the return ticket and proof of their sufficient finances while staying in the EU country. On December 24, 2020, the EU and the UK came to a last-minute agreement on trading relationships, avoiding the no-deal scenario. The new Brexit trading rules, which are supposed to ensure direct air connectivity between the two parties, came into force on January 1, 2021.

Ground Operations

United States

  • The industry is bracing for new environmental regulations and initiatives to be enacted under the new administration. Many of these will be tied to cleaner trucks. President-elect Joe Biden has made it a point that his administration will focus on creating a pathway to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050. The new Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, has been a staunch supporter of cutting fossil fuels. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has also been aggressive in reducing transportation emissions and adopted a new standard, calling for heavy-duty tractors to be 100% zero emissions by 2045. Most tractor manufacturers are accelerating their electrification strategies.
  • Carriers are seeing a strong rate environment at the start of 2021 and anticipate this for much of the year. Spending on consumable goods leads to strong demand in 2020. When the pandemic is over there is a possibility that spending will shift back to services, travel, etc. but it is anticipated that demand will remain strong for goods and manufacturing pick up, which will offset any shift. According to Freight Waves, The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) jumped to 60.7% in December, up 3.2 percentage points from November and the seventh straight month of expansion. A reading above 50% indicates expansion in the U.S. manufacturing sector.
  • Demand continues to outpace supply. The driver shortage is the biggest impact on capacity, and even with higher driver pay, will not get back to equilibrium until the pandemic is resolved. 2020 saw a spike in spot market activity compared to contractual tenders. Spot market typically accounts for 12%-15% of activity, for 2020 this was over 23%.
  • Seasonally adjusted freight activity surged about 35% to a new post-pandemic high last week. The index is more than 5% above the previous high during the week ending December 4.  The Dry Van segment rose about 26% in the latest week to a new post-pandemic high. The latest index reading is more than 3% higher than the previous high set during the week ending November 6.  On rates, dry van and flatbed hit multi-year highs. Dry van loads averaged $2.64 a mile in December in Truckstop.com’s system — a 2-cent increase from November and an 80-cent jump from May. It was van’s strongest showing in two and a half years, since July 2018. LTL carriers continue to see a strong rate environment based on increased demand and cost inflation (driver pay).
  • December volumes for the LTL industry remained high and grew year over year. The seasonal spike was in line on a sequential basis from November, but of a much stronger base than in 2019.  For Truckload, last week saw an uptick in Outbound Tender Volume of 13% year over year.  Overall tender rejections were at 23% for the week, and although much higher from last year at this time, there was a sequential decline.
  • The first full week of 2021 saw the nationwide price of diesel continue as it had for the last weeks of 2020, with trucking’s main fuel notching a 3-cent increase, according to the Energy Information Administration’s weekly data released Jan. 11. Diesel now costs $2.67 nationwide.

Regional Updates

APAC

  • The Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year is being celebrated from February 12, 2021 – February 26, 2021. Many factories are closing down at the end of January to allow travel time to reduce the travel rush.
  • Beijing Shunyi District:  Due to the severe epidemic in Shunyi District of Beijing, The Epidemic Prevention Headquarters ordered the villages within the district to shut down from Jan 10- Jan 12, same applies to the office buildings in Shunyi District. The officers are back in operation but the import and export operation timelines were effective and there will be delays.
  • Dalian: Dalian port is closed for three days ( from 21st Dec to 24th Dec) due to the new locally transmitted coronavirus cases, but now it is back to normal gradually although vsl call Dalian port still suffer delay.
  • Shijiazhuang is now off-limits following a spike in COVID cases. People from this area are banned from leaving the city. Suppliers in Shijiazhuang are delaying departure dates until early February based on government notices.

EMEA

  • COVID and UK/FRANCE Borders - The UK government has urged haulers bound for France via Dover to get their Covid-19 tests before they reach Kent. Under French regulations, drivers arriving in the country from the UK must present a negative Covid-19 test taken within the last 72 hours. Department for Transport under-secretary Rachel MacLean today wrote to haulage representatives to share concerns that cross-Channel freight delays could worsen if haulers did not get tested earlier in their journeys. “As things stand, the significant majority of haulers bound for France are still leaving it until they get to Kent to get a COVID test,” she said. “While the low traffic volumes we are currently seeing mean this is not causing significant issues, as traffic volumes increase over the coming days and weeks, haulers arriving untested will become an increasing problem. “To avoid unnecessary friction at the border, and the resultant queuing and traffic disruption, it is vital haulers seeking to cross into France arrive in Kent and other ports serving France, having already been tested and obtained a negative result,” she continued, adding that the government had set up 34 testing facilities at advice centers created for haulers in the run-up to Brexit.
  • United Kingdom

    • Air - Mainland EU connections back to normal.
    • UK RA/KC Security status not currently recognized by EU so any freight transiting through Mainland EU treated as ‘Insecure.
    • Limited Capacity to India, Australia & the US.
    • Ocean - UK Container and truck haulage now stable but very busy (expect up to 4 days for collections/deliveries).
    • Ports less congested but still delays. Most SSL now implementing UK port congestion surcharges.
    • Vessels delayed inbound and outbound by up to 7 days. Some vessels still omitting UK ports. Vessel space for exports on most lanes/lines.
  • Germany

    • Air - Relaxing demand for capacities – North America rate levels at € 3,00 to € 4,85/kg – short term space is at € 6,50/kg, also. The handling agent situation at FRA airport is relaxing because of the reduced demands.
    • Ocean - Container space out of China is critical into Germany, also rail and truck capacities are low! Also, vessels out of Germany into China and the US are currently overbooked, current space bookable is 4 weeks. Currently offering the clients option to book it LCL as co-loaders seems to have space open.
  • Italy

    • Air - Air export to the US has reduced significantly compared with peak rates at end of December. Rates to AP back down to pre-COVID levels, except for Australia. Import from AP still at a premium, pre-Chinese New Year.
    • Ocean - Equipment problems have eased but still space restraints on both EB and WB export lanes. LATAM rates increased after many years. Heavy cargo not being loaded onto a vessel. Import from FE, not takings bookings locally, customers looking for space (the rate hikes have been accepted on the market).
  • Netherlands & Belgium

    • Air - Space capacity constraints still continues. The booking confirmation is subject to airline approval; booking required well in advance. Pricing flattening however still on high levels. Flight schedule subject to change without further notice and transit delays.
    • Ocean - Space very still tight EU- Middle East & EU-Far East, Far East – EU.
    • Container shortages resulting in additional fees implemented by carriers such as the Equipment Imbalance fee.
    • Rates Far East – EU at all record high level, expectations this will continue until the Chinese New Year and the weeks after Chinese New Year.
    • Congestion in the US Port such as New York and Los Angeles as well as inland Rail terminals in the USA.
    • Timely booking, correct and long-term accurate forecast are key to ship in time.
    • HL: Area Germany & Central Europe – Equipment Shortage 40´GP & HC – Temporary Booking Stop.
    • HL: Equipment Imbalance Surcharge - Exports from North Europe (excl. UK and Ireland).
  • Ireland

    • Air - Cargolux has now been advised by the relevant EU department due to Brexit cargo transiting the UK via RFS to LUX is no longer part of the EU Security Regime. For this reason, it must be screened again at Luxembourg. LUX security will apply for this as follows.
      • Primary Screening 0.15 / Kg Min 20.00.
      • Secondary Screening 0.25 / Kg Min 115.00 (inclusive of Primary Screening).
        • Clients are responsible for covering these charges.
    • Ocean - Stena doubling Rosslare-Cherbourg sailings due to post-Brexit demand. Rosslare Europort, which is operated by Iarnród Eireann, will have up to 30 direct services to and from Europe next year. We are seeing a huge shift away from the UK Landbridge into mainland Europe.
  • Qatar

    • Air - Received circular from QA on resuming service to Damma, Riyadh, and Jeddah by next week. Awaiting circular on the other countries too.
    • Ocean - Milaha issued a circular on resuming service. But not yet started booking. Few NVOCC operators service between Jebel Ali and Doha to date was not authorized. They used to switch BL in Oman. In the present circumstances, they are able to issue Direct BLs.  All other lines like MSL, CMA, HLL, MSC awaiting approval from the line desk for discharge/loading in Jebel Ali port.
    • Land Freight struck following COVID-19 protocol by the drivers that are to have hotel quarantine for one week which is not a viable option. But there a discussion going on in the Ministry of Transport to remove this hassle by forming an isolation camp near the Abu Samra border for the drivers arriving from Saudi Arabia.
  • Saudi Arabia

    • Qatar's embargo is lifted, and operations have resumed for air and ocean. Border clearance is likely to resume next week.
    • Air - Booking confirmation is subject to the airline’s approval. Flight schedule subject to change without prior notice and transit delays.
    • Ocean - Space constraints continue with many challenges. Most of the carriers are implementing a new tariff per cntr (inspection charges @ depo) There is an increase in THC by Mawani by 8-10% on STD + 25% on DG.
  • United Arab Emirates

    • Qatar embargo is lifted and operations have resumed for air and ocean.
    • Air - Booking confirmation is subject to airline approval. Flight schedule subject to change without further notice and transit delays.
    • Ocean - Space constraints continue with many challenges. Most of the carriers are implementing rates per voyage with no validity.
  • South Africa

    • Air - Market rates are still on a per shipment basis, and some airlines are now applying their gold/express rates. Space availability is subject to the time of booking and last minute off-loads can be expected due to space availability.
    • Ocean - Co-Loaders are constantly sending through GRI increases during the month for the Far East trade lane. Some Co-loader rates are being revised BI-monthly.
    • Constant Space and Price issues from the Far East for FCL.
    • Currently, the rates are extremely high, eg: Rate end of November for a 40ft (Ningbo-Durban): USD 3500.00, currently the rates are USD 6250.00.
    • Delays for Inland movement from Durban to Johannesburg via Rail due to cable Theft.
    • Sailings into Cape Town, from the Far East, are difficult to secure space, and rates are much higher.

Global Border Crossing Status and restrictions

  • Facilitated by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, read more here.

Land Borders

  • Sixfold have a free application that maps out European borders with live information on crossing times. Read more here.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection assesses an annual user fee for each customs broker district and national permit held by an individual, partnership, association, or corporation. CBP has announced 2021’s user fee is $150.33 and is due to CBP no later than January 29, 2021.


Week 02 (January 03 - 09)

Ocean Operations

The Top 10 Ocean Carriers had 84% of the 24.2 million TEUs shipped worldwide in 2020.  Maersk lead with 4.1 million, followed by MSC at 3.9M, Cosco at 3.03M, and CMA-CGM at 3.01M.

Larger vessels are expected to come in 2021.  If the demand does not return to 2019 levels, there could be more surges and bottlenecks with fewer arrivals but larger vessels that may not be handled well by destination ports in Europe and North America.

  • Evergreen vessel (Ever Liberal) loses 36 containers.
    • Evergreen Marine has announced that 36 containers have fallen off its 2014-built post-Panamax vessel Ever Liberal due to rough sea conditions.
    • The incident happened while the ship was en-route to Los Angeles after leaving the Port of Busan.
    • According to the company, the 8,452 TEU ship encountered strong winds off the south of Kyushu, Japan, causing the collapse of container stacks on the vessel. Twenty-one containers fell onto the deck, while 36 fell into the sea.
    • The company said no person was injured in the incident, and none of the containers contained hazardous cargo. The ship notified Japan Coast Guard about the incident immediately.
    • Following the incident, the ship changed its course to Taipei for inspections, and Evergreen said everything possible is being done to retrieve the lost containers. 
    • At this time, we are unaware of the unit number affected by this incident. We will continue monitoring the situation and advise with further updates.
  • Port Congestion/Chassis Shortage in the USA
    • There is currently a historically high demand for chassis throughout the country with the recent unprecedented Import volumes. To minimize any negative impact on supply chains, customers are asked to take immediate steps to reduce container and chassis off terminal dwell time. This includes all inland terminals as well as port terminals. Without a significant reduction in the dwell times, truckers may face serious challenges and delays in securing good order chassis as long as this surge in imports continues.
  • Rail Update in the USA
    • BNSF Network fluid.
    • CN We continue to see a smaller receiving window due to CN working to support the congested Toronto ramp and potential concern with congestion at the Port of Montreal. Customers should be reaching out to CN’s RV team for assistance by calling Tel: 866-851-7837 or imx-osm@cn.ca.
    • CP Network fluid.
    • CSX Network remains fluid.
    • RVs a struggle in Chicago (Bedford) to Newark and Philadelphia. These lanes are extremely tight right now. Tampa – CSX is not moving containers into Tampa due to congestion.
    • FEC Network fluid.
    • KCS Network fluid.
    • NS Network fluid.
  • Maersk line update
    • As of January 01, 2021, Safmarine and Damco are integrated fully into the Maersk brand. Please ensure you use the Maersk line for any new or pending business that moved with Safmarine.
      • Hamburg Süd and Aliança will remain independent brands with differentiated service models.
      • Sealand- A Maersk Company will remain as a separate brand under A.P. Moller - Maersk, serving as the strong intra-regional service provider it is today.
  • WAVE (Weekly Advance Volume Estimate) from the port of Long Beach

Proyected Weekly Volume

Projected Vessel Calls

Estimated Container Moves Types

Estimated Exports and Empty Returns

Average Terminal Gate Turn-Time

Rail Update

Click here to view a recap of 2020 and the forecast for 2021

Air Freight Update

  • AirBridge Cargo - Airbridge Cargo (ABC) has deployed its first 777 freighters, putting it on the Trans-Siberian route with a payload of 106 tons. “2020 has put air cargo at the front,” said Igor Borisov, director of Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, “delivering much-needed medical cargo – PPE, vaccines, medicines, medical equipment, and other items to combat Covid-19 spread. “We are positive that the new freighter type within Airbridge Cargo’s fleet will open new opportunities for other carriers operating to/from Domodedovo.” Customer Natalia Butrova, logistics leader Russia & CIS at GE Healthcare, added: “Timely delivery of sophisticated medical equipment stays one of the top tasks during these difficult times. Time-wise, airfreight is the most preferred mode, which, coupled with safety and security, is very important for us.”
  • American Airlines - Resumed flights to/from Florence, South Carolina, and Charlotte, North Carolina, on January 5, 2021.
  • British Airways, EasyJet - Review flying plans in response to new national COVID-19 lockdowns.
  • Caribbean Airlines suspends flights to Havana because of COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Cathay Pacific - Cathay Pacific Cargo has announced a new scheduled freighter service between Hong Kong and Riyadh, starting tomorrow, with a 747-400ERF operating every Tuesday via Dubai. The airline said it had “seen a growing demand for air cargo flights between Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong. These new flights will meet the strong demand for shipments of e-commerce and other general cargo such as garments.”
  • Qantas - Resumes bookings for all international flights from July 2021.
  • Qatar - Qatar Airways Cargo took three 777 freighters on 1 January, bringing its freighter fleet to 30, of which 24 are 777Fs, four are A330Fs, and two 747Fs. The airline said the new aircraft would be put on long-haul scheduled routes and be open for cargo charters. “We are injecting much-needed capacity in the market, helping support global supply chains at a critical time during the pandemic,” said group chief executive Akbar Al Baker. “The added capacity will enable us to support logistics around the Covid-19 vaccination, which is projected to be one of the greatest logistical challenges for the industry. “Qatar noted that it had also temporarily converted six of its 777-300ER aircraft to operate cargo-only flights, introducing an additional 137 cubic meters of cargo volume per flight over the lower deck cargo capacity of 156 cubic meters.
  • Volga-Dnepr - Began bringing its AN-124s back into the market after grounding the fleet in November, following an engine failure, with one back in operation at the end of December, following the completion of technical checks and service directives. Two aircraft are currently flying, with additional aircraft coming back at a pace of 7 to 10 days per aircraft, said Konstantin Vekshin, chief commercial director of Volga-Dnepr Group. “We have two An-124s back in service as of today. The ultimate return will be incremental, and we will take our time to follow the guidelines reflected in the service directives. “The carrier said it would discuss the return of its fleet with customers individually and would keep them informed of progress. Mr. Vekshin added: “We are in the process of the diligent execution of the service directives. Everything is on the right track.”
  • Dubai - EY – Continues with temporary flight cancellations to KWI/ MCT/ Saudi Arabia.
  • Vietnam - Authorities expected to suspend or limit incoming flights from at least 34 countries and territories with the new COVID-19 variant.
  • U.K. - Terminal closed at Cornwall Airport Newquay because of COVID-19; all commercial flights were suspended.
  • South Africa, U.K., Vietnam - Vietnam suspends flights from South Africa, U.K. because of COVID-19 variants.
  • Poland - Update: Poland's government extends the ban on passenger flights from the U.K. until 13 January because of the new strain of COVID-19.
  • Ireland, U.K., South Africa - Irish government extends the ban on travel from South Africa, the U.K. by 48 hours because of COVID-19. Aer Lingus suspends flights from Great Britain to Ireland in the same period.

Ground Transportation Operations

United States

  • The trucking industry will face continuing uncertainty in 2021. Based on changing consumer patterns and a stalled industrial recovery, freight networks have shifted through 2020. It will most likely last past this pandemic and into the economic recovery for those patterns to stabilize. Demand continues to outpace supply as carriers work on filling seats and adapting their networks to this shift. Demand for drivers is causing higher turnover levels and forcing carriers to raise driver pay to stay competitive.
  • Tender volumes dropped 5% last week from the previous week but are still up 42% over last year. However, tender rejections rose slightly week over week to 26.75% and are well above the same week in 2019.  Rates remain well above 2019 levels as well.
  • Parcel companies have limited capacity and imposed surcharges, which have caused a shift into other modes, causing strains on the USPS and LTL networks. E-commerce demand has grown exponentially and exhausted all available last-mile delivery capacity.
  • Intermodal containers and trailers—at 308,016—saw an 11.1% annual increase, topping the weeks ending December 5 and November 28, at 297,217 and 246,504, respectively.
  • The national average price of gasoline also surged significantly, by 6.6 cents to $2.224 a gallon, only 30.8 cents cheaper than a year ago.

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