Norman Global Logistics has highlighted how a crackdown on shoddy medical exports has led to surging air cargo costs and congestion in South China.

With 3.4k followers on LinkedIn, Stefan Holmqvist, managing director at Norman Global Logistics Asia is an influencer and thought-leader, so little surprise that when he broke news of changes to the handling of critical PPE equipment the trade press were all over it.

Following widespread complaints of defective personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks and coronavirus test kits, the Chinese authorities have tightened quality controls and increased customs inspections.

New regulations include yesterday’s announcement by China’s Ministry of Commerce on strengthening the export quality supervision of “non-medical” masks, including a blacklist of suppliers which failed to gain export certification.

“In Shanghai, customs brokers have raised rates for export clearance by up to six times, due to extra paperwork and processing time,” confirmed Norman Global Logistics (NGL).

The company said: “So far this is impacting the Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shenzhen regions, but we expect it to happen in the rest of the country, as at least 90% of all medical cargo will require customs inspection.”

NGL confirmed claims the new export restrictions were preventing PPE manufactured in the mainland from transhipment in Hong Kong, and “more or less forcing” the cargo through mainland airports.

While many governments have enacted “air bridges” to cater for supplies for their healthcare systems, space is still scarce and rates are at a premium due to the absence of bellyhold capacity.

Airfreight terminals in Shanghai, Xiamen and Guangzhou are on red alert, while Shenzhen changed to yellow, as terminals in these cities are overheated with massive amounts of cargo, particularly PPE.

Meanwhile, the more-stringent PPE export controls are impacting ocean freight, with containers packed with face masks reportedly detained in China because the goods failed to meet quality standards.

About 1,600 manufacturers are blacklisted, due to quality checks and bad paperwork, so buyers need to carefully check whether Chinese manufacturers meet the strict new criteria.

Shippers can still access our less-than-container load (LCL) ocean freight to bypass the air cargo congestion and avoid any cost escalation.

This blog is adapted from a news post first published in The Loadstar. Click HERE to read the original article by Sam Whelan