Response to limited capacity and rising demand on key Asia Pacific to Europe and the US trades, especially from life sciences and healthcare sectors.

DHL’s freight forwarding division DHL Global Forwarding (DGF) has expanded its regular global air freight charter programme in response to limited capacity and rising demand on key Asia Pacific to Europe and the US trades from the technology, manufacturing sectors and especially from the life sciences and healthcare sectors.

Managed by DGF’s in-house charter team StarBroker, the twice-weekly charter originates from Chongqing, China and flies to Amsterdam, Netherlands; Chicago, United States; Incheon, South Korea before returning to China.

DHL joins a growing number of freight forwarders that are increasingly taking ‘pre-emptive action’ to guarantee space for customers during the looming peak season and beyond, with the already-diminished capacity expected to tighten further in the coming months. This week, DB Schenker also announced the launch of a new transatlantic flight operations programme until the end of 2020, connecting Atlanta and Chicago with Frankfurt, Germany and other surrounding Central European markets. It said the new B747F flights, which will operate three times a week via full and part charter flights, “will provide much-needed air freight capacity for an industry severely impacted by the many passenger flights cancellation due to the Covid-19 pandemic”.

A DGF spokesperson told Lloyd’s Loading List that the new regular Asia-Europe-US freighter capacity was expected to be “an ongoing service which will be offered as long as we see demand, and the volatile situation in the air freight market continues”. He said DGF currently offers 27 weekly fully dedicated freighter flights, for instance from Incheon to Chicago, Brussels to Johannesburg and Hahn to Shanghai.

Thomas Mack, global head of air freight at DGF, said: “While some passenger airlines have resumed operations, the situation in the air freight market remains volatile – especially as belly capacity is still tight. DHL Global Forwarding’s top priority is to provide our customers with sufficient and reliable air freight capacity.

“Not only are the resilient, agile and reliable supply chains of highest importance for an economic recovery, but also in preparation for the availability of vaccines and other essential medical supplies during the pandemic.”

Healthcare products rise

DGF noted that South Korea has seen its export of healthcare products rise year-on-year by 26.7% in the first half of 2020, with pharmaceutical goods in particular increasing by 52.5%. China has exported 28.5% more medical devices in the first five months of the year as compared to a year ago. In 2019, China, the Netherlands and the United States were among the top ten importers and exporters of medical goods.

“Over the years, DHL has built up its expertise from globally certified facilities and staff to technologies that track shipments in real-time in addition to ensuring the integrity of such products throughout their journey. Getting the much-needed air capacity is the last piece in the value chain puzzle, so to speak, that ensures temperature sensitive products such as life-saving vaccines reach the communities-in-need,” added Mack.

In a recently published white paper, DHL together with McKinsey & Company as analytics partner, explores the logistics challenges for vaccines and medical goods during COVID-19. To provide global coverage of COVID-19 vaccines, they reported that up to 200,000 pallet shipments and 15 million deliveries in cooling boxes as well as 15,000 flights will be required across the various supply chain set-ups.

DHL Global Forwarding has a global network of facilities that meet the European Union’s Good Distribution Practice (GDP) guidelines for life sciences and healthcare supply chains. It also has a suite of temperature-controlled freight solutions that allow real-time visibility and active monitoring for the movement of goods that could include medicines, supplements, vaccines, medical devices and diagnostic equipment, the company stressed.

In April 2020, DHL Global Forwarding tapped on its network of life sciences and healthcare facilities, temperature-controlled solutions and customs clearance expertise to fly more than 1.3 million Covid-19 test kits from South Korea to Brazil, Ecuador, India, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Saudi Arabia. The freight forwarder also launched a dedicated 100-tonne weekly air freight service for organizations and governments shipping health and medical-related items and other goods from China to Middle East and Africa.



Source: Lloyd’s