Covid impacts on Airfreight

Many Shippers are regularly asking why Air and Sea Freight Rates seem to be on a never-ending climb to the heavens.  A lot of this has to do with the lack of airfreight space. Commercial aero planes are responsible for bringing in vast tonnages of cargo in their underbellies . The lack of flights has contributed to the push for more sea fright shipping

The attached chart explains the dramatic decrease in flights and its imp[act on Air Freight . It also explains why companies are importing and exporting more by Sea

Australian Ports Update

Australia’s Patrick Terminals are again set to endure another round of Protected Industrial Action by Maritime Unions at a time when importers and exporters are struggling under current lockdowns and difficult economic environment.

A ban on overtime and a ban on performance of upgrades and/or work in higher level will be imposed at Sydney and Brisbane Autostrad Terminals from 10pm Friday 1st October until 6am 5th October. In addition, work stoppages will be applicable for 24hours on Saturday and Sunday 2nd and 3rd October, 2021.

Patricks Melbourne Autostrad Terminal will have a ban on overtime from 23rd September until 7am Thursday 30th September, 2021.

Patricks Fremantle Terminal will stop work from 11pm Friday 24th September until 11pm Sunday 26th September, 2021, as well as a ban on attending work when an employee is rostered as “off/avail” working overtime from 7am Tuesday 28th September until 7am 19th October, 2021..


Melbourne VICT Terminal Closed:

A second COVID outbreak closed VICT Terminal in Melbourne on Wednesday this week, latest update indicated the terminal would remain closed today, Friday 24th September 2021.


Xiamen, China Port:

Xiamen City has been locked down due to a COVID outbreak, as a result of the lockdown, depot and trucking operation have been abruptly halted. Terminal operation in Xiamen port has also been impacted but loading and discharging activities are continuing, for cargo already received at the terminal, as long as vessels are calling Xiamen port.


USA West Coast Ports:

Ports on the West Coast of USA, particularly Los Angeles and Oakland continue to suffer heavy congestion, last reports indicate 56 vessels are anchored off Los Angeles port awaiting a berth to discharge and load, this is the highest number of vessel to date at anchorage with congestion in the port and rail terminals extremely chaotic and severely affecting operations.

GPSM Transport Team will advise any clients affected by the Industrial situation on a case by case basis.

Los Angeles Port Congestion Update

The Port of Los Angeles has been experiencing unprecedented congestion as the Transpacific trade-lane has exploded to record high volumes.

In order to ease some of the congestion, the Port of Los Angeles is expanding their hours of operations during which trucks can pick up and return containers.

Additionally, the port is looking to implement 24/7 operations which will help move the congestion that is stalling vessel berthing.

Total Terminals International container terminal on Pier T in the Port of Long Beach is making it easier for trucks to access the facility during the overnight hours in a new pilot program to widen access and speed deliveries amid the ongoing cargo surge.

The pilot program at the Port’s largest terminal focuses on the effort to reduce “dwell” – the amount of time cargo spends waiting for pickup on the dock. The terminal is taking two significant steps to increase cargo pickup in the late night, early morning hours, when there is less traffic on the region’s freeways and surface streets.

Sydney Port Disruption

Hutchinson Ports Terminal in Port Botany has reported that four (4) positive COVID cases have been detected over the weekend that has, and will, affect all landside operations.

85% of their staff have been affected as close contacts of the positive cases.

The terminal has been closed since 0600 hours on Saturday morning and is expected to remain closed in coming days, Hutchinson have advised they will keep all parties updated as soon as possible.

All time slots, import and export, have been cancelled until further notice.

Our Transport Team will keep all clients affected by the closure updated as soon as more information comes to hand.

Updated Information BMSB Season 2021 – 22

Seasonal measures for Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB)

What’s New

  • 23 July 2021 – addition of Poland as a target risk country
  • 23 July 2021 – Emerging risk countries identified as Belarus, Malta, Sweden, United Kingdom and Chile
  • 26 August 2021 – Removal of tariff chapters 36 and 93 from target high risk goods list
  • 26 August 2021 – Removal of tariff chapters 25, 26, 31, 46 and 47 from target risk goods list

For the 2021-22 BMSB risk season, BMSB seasonal measures will apply to targeted goods manufactured in or shipped from target risk countries, that have been shipped between 1 September 2021 and 30 April 2022 (inclusive), and to vessels that berth, load, or tranship from target risk countries within the same period. Note: The shipped on board date, as indicated on the Ocean Bill of lading, is the date used to determine when goods have been shipped. “Gate in” dates and times will not be accepted to determine when goods are shipped. We continuously review the measures throughout the season and may make necessary adjustments based on detections of BMSB and changes in the risk pathways.

Full details can be found on the link below :

Current Status

American Airlines withdraws from Australia:

In a further blow to airfreight capacity into and out of Australia, American Airlines (AA) has announced it will withdraw all services to/from Australia effective from 1st September, 2021 for a period of at least 2 months.

It is understood the airline is reacting to Australia’s cap on passenger numbers after the Australian Government halved the arrivals to 3,000 passengers per week.

American advised they will deploy the aircraft used to the northern hemisphere where an upsurge in tourism had created “unprecedented” demand for wide bodied aircraft.


China Eastern also withdraws flight to Australia:

China Eastern Airlines (MU) have also advised they are withdrawing flights from China to Australia from this week, further adding to limited airfreight cargo capacity to/from China.

The suspension of flights is believed to be related to a COVID outbreak at Shanghai Airport.


Ningbo Port Re-opens:

After 2 weeks of closure, China’s Ningbo-Meishan Terminal has reopened and is again operating normally following a COVID outbreak at the port. Some 50 vessels are queueing at Ningbo port awaiting a berth, this along with recent typhoons on the China East Coast is delaying all sailings not only from Ningbo-Meishan terminal, but all ports on the China East Coast.


Heavy Congestion in USA continues:

All USA ports are heavily congested with hundreds of vessels at anchorage waiting on discharging and loading facilities to be available, inland rail-hubs and rail services are also over-burdened with the volume of containers moving across USA. The trucker shortage continues with a shortage of container trailers and truck drivers available to handle the volume.

All vessels to and from East and West Coast USA are heavily booked, with some lines postponing bookings to Australia due to the lack of space available.


Ocean Import and Export rates:

Rates continue to escalate on all trade lanes on a regular basis reaching heights none of thought were possible, the only winners in the current situation are the shipping lines, many announcing record profits over the past weeks, some with increased profits of 400% over last year.

The skyrocketing prices are also affecting LCL cargo with onsolidators announcing General Rate Increases and new surcharges almost on a weekly basis.


“ Do you import Airfreight Cargo from Italy & USA in the tariff chapters below “


Chapter 84 – Machinery any appliances

Chapter 85 – Electrical equipment and appliances

Chapter 86 – Railway locomotives and fittings

Chapter 87 – Vehicles and accessories


Then read below

Air Cargo


Due to detections of live BMSB in previous season, air cargo arriving between 1 September and 30 November 2021 (inclusive) from USA and italy, containing target high risk chapters 84, 85, 86 and 87 will be subject be random verification inspections.

“The department has intention of running a limited BMSB verification regime across air cargo from September 1 to November 30 inclusive on target risk chapters 84-87 exported from Italy and US (highest risk chapters from highest risk countries).”

“The department is still working through how best to implement the verification regime and thought must be given to the ever changing impact of COVID-19 in Sydney as well as the rest of Australia.”

“The intention will be to shift verification regimes around so as not to double up on utilization of Inspectors and create unnecessary additional burden on them and industry as a whole.”

“When the department finalizes the arrangement they will be in a position to be more overt in their cargo verification regime.”

Are your goods impacted by asbestos

A reminder The Australian Border force is actively selecting goods for testing , please read the attached information If your goods are impacted.



An Australia-wide ban on the use of all types of asbestos took effect on 31 December 2003. Work Health and Safety (WHS) and environment laws in all States and Territories prohibit the unauthorized supply, transport, use (including manufacturing), or handling of asbestos.

To support the domestic ban:

  • Importing asbestos or goods containing asbestos into Australia is prohibited, unless a permission has been granted or a lawful exception applies, under Regulation 4C of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956.
  • Exporting asbestos or certain goods containing asbestos from Australia is prohibited, unless a permission has been granted or a lawful exception applies, under Regulation 4, and Schedule 1, of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958.

Australia is one of the few countries in the Asia/Pacific region that has a comprehensive ban on all six types of asbestos. In many countries, despite the known threat to human health, local standards allow low levels of particular types of asbestos to be used for manufacturing. Goods manufactured outside Australia might be labelled “asbestos free” and still contain low levels of asbestos. Such goods will not be permitted for import into Australia, except in very limited circumstances.

The border control for asbestos is not enforced with consideration of the level of risk to the end-user of the goods. Importers must not base their judgement on a perceived low risk, as any risk of asbestos content must be addressed before shipment to Australia.


Types of prohibited asbestos

The border control for asbestos extends to the importation and exportation of asbestiform varieties of mineral silicates belonging to the serpentine or amphibole groups of rock forming minerals including the following:

  • actinolite asbestos
  • grunerite (or amosite) asbestos (brown)
  • anthophyllite asbestos
  • chrysotile asbestos (white)
  • crocidolite asbestos (blue)
  • tremolite asbestos
  • a mixture that contains one or more of the minerals referred to above


Goods that might contain asbestos

Asbestos has been used in a wide number of products due to its flexibility, tensile strength, insulation, chemical inertness and affordability and is still used outside Australia in many applications.

The following goods are considered a risk for containing asbestos:

  • Asbestos bitumen products used to damp proof
  • Asbestos rope
  • Asbestos tape
  • Brake linings or blocks
  • Cement flat sheeting or panels
  • Cement pipes, tubes or fittings
  • Cement shingles or tiles (external or ceiling)
  • Clutch linings or brake disc pads
  • Crayons
  • Diaphragms
  • Ducts
  • Electrical cloth and tapes
  • Electrical panel partitioning
  • Fire blankets
  • Fire curtains
  • Fire resistant building materials
  • Friction materials for, or within, internal combustion and electric motor vehicles (for example, clutch linings, brake pads and shoes and gaskets)
  • Furnaces
  • Gas masks
  • Gaskets or seals
  • Gloves
  • Heat resistant sealing or caulking compounds
  • Heating equipment
  • Lagging and jointing materials
  • Mastics, sealants, putties or adhesives
  • Mineral samples for display or therapeutic purposes
  • Mixtures containing phenol formaldehyde resin or cresylic formaldehyde resin
  • Nut Plug products used for drilling fluids
  • Pipe spools
  • Portable acetylene cylinders
  • Products containing certain types of talc
  • Raw materials from mining activities
  • Sheet vinyl backing
  • Sheeting
  • Textured paints or coatings
  • Tiles
  • Yarn and thread, cords and string, whether or not plaited


Countries from which goods containing asbestos have been detected

Below is the list of countries from which goods containing asbestos has been detected:

  • China
  • Germany
  • Indonesia
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Taiwan
  • The Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Vietnam

Note: the list represents the country of shipment, not necessarily the country of manufacture. Importers must be aware of their supply chain including the origin and manufacturing process of parts and components, particularly those at risk of containing asbestos.

The above lists are non-exhaustive and subject to change. They are listed in alphabetical order and should be used as a guide only.

The ABF targets goods considered to have a risk of containing asbestos. Any unauthorised goods found to contain asbestos will be seized and the importer may face penalties and/or prosecution.


Ensuring the goods do not contain asbestos

It is the responsibility of importers and exporters to ensure they do not import or export prohibited goods such as asbestos. We must be assured that no asbestos is present at the time of import or export.

There are factors that increase the risk of importing goods that contain asbestos. Definitive enquiries should be made with suppliers outside Australia about any use of asbestos at the point of manufacture, before importing the goods into Australia.

Importers should be aware of the increased risk of goods containing asbestos when sourced from countries that have asbestos producing industries. Goods that are manufactured in the same factory that produce asbestos containing goods are considered a risk due to possible cross contamination.

Importers should not assume that goods labelled “asbestos free” are in fact free of asbestos or that testing of goods undertaken overseas certified “asbestos free” meet Australia’s border requirements. Some countries can lawfully label or test goods, declaring them asbestos free, if they are below a certain threshold.

To ensure that goods which are manufactured overseas do not contain asbestos, importers should question their overseas suppliers about the use of asbestos at any point in the supply chain. Importers are also encouraged to investigate, and where appropriate implement:

  • contractual obligations with their suppliers that specify nil asbestos content
  • sampling and testing for asbestos content before shipping the goods to Australia
  • regular risk assessment and quality assurance processes, that take into account:
    • what raw materials are used in the manufacture of the goods
    • where manufacturers outside Australia source their raw materials
    • identifying and subsequently minimising asbestos-risk activities at the point of manufacture

If the ABF suspects that goods arriving at the border contain asbestos, the goods are detained and examined. Documents that provides sufficient assurance must be provided. The importer may be required to arrange testing and certification by a ‘competent person’ to ensure there is no presence of asbestos. The arrangement and cost of any independent inspection, testing and storage of the goods is the responsibility of the importer/exporter in Australia in line with section 186 of the Customs Act 1901 (the Customs Act). If Australian importers can demonstrate their own supply chain assurance program they could avoid delays to the clearance of their goods at the point of importation.


Peak Season Surcharges/Rate increases

A number of shipping lines have announced that Peak Season Surcharge and/or rate increases will be applied from Asia as from 1st August 2021, below are the details of the announcements received to date:


From China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan Hong Kong:

  • MSC will increase rates on all containers by USD 500.00/20ft and USD 1,000.00/40ft to Australia and New Zealand.
  • Hapag-Lloyd Line will implement their increase of USD 500.00/20ft and USD 1,000.00/40ft as a Peak Season Surcharge.
  • CMA/ANL Group have also increased their rates by USD 500.00/USD 1000.00 from North China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan ports, with an increase of USD 400.00/20ft and USD 800.00/40ft from Shekou, Hong Kong and Xiamen ports in China.
  • PIL Line have announced a total rate increase of USD 900.00/20ft and USD 1,800.00/40ft on their services to Australia.

From Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the rate increase has been advised by most lines at USD 500.00/20ft and USD 1,000.00/40ft.

LCL Rates from all above countries are also expected to increase as a result of the lines announcements, we anticipate the cost increases to be approximately USD 20.00 per cubic metre or 1000kgs, final details yet to be confirmed.

No doubt other shipping lines will follow with rate announcements, GPSM will keep all clients advised of further developments as notifications are received.


Australian Port Charges:

Shipping lines have all announced an increase in the Bill of Lading Fees in Australia, these costs have always been included in the port charges billed by GPSM. These costs will increase by up to AUD 50.00 as lines hike their document fees from around AUD 100.00 to AUD 150.00 from 1st August, 2021.

All the new rates and charges will be uploaded to GPSM rate portal on our website.


Seasonal measures for Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB)

For the 2021-22 BMSB risk season, BMSB seasonal measures will apply to targeted goods manufactured and shipped from target risk countries, that have been shipped between 1 September 2021 and 30 April 2022 (inclusive), and to vessels that berth, load, or tranship from target risk countries within the same period. Note: The shipped on board date, as indicated on the Ocean Bill of lading, is the date used to determine when goods have been shipped.

“Gate in” dates and times will not be accepted to determine when goods are shipped


The following countries below have been categorized as target risk:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Czechia
  • France
  • Japan (heightened vessel surveillance will be the only measure applied).
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kosovo
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Montenegro
  • Moldova
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Republic of North Macedonia
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United States of America

Any target high risk or target risk goods which are manufactured in or shipped from the target risk countries will be subject to the BMSB seasonal measures.

Any vessel that berths at, loads, or transships from the target risk countries is also subject to the BMSB seasonal measures. In addition, the department continues to review the changing risk status of BMSB and will also be undertaking random onshore inspections on goods from other emerging risk countries to verify pest absence in goods.

The following countries have been identified as emerging risk countries for the 2021-22 BMSB risk season and may be selected for a random onshore inspection: Belarus, Malta, Sweden, United Kingdom, and Chile.

Full details can be found on the link below, we recommend that you read this prior to the commencement of the next season.