During this unprecedented time, SEKO Logistics maintains three primary objectives:
- Maintain the health, safety and welfare of our people, clients and partners.
- Mitigate supply and demand chain disruptions for clients, while working closely with local governments and healthcare officials to help combat the virus.
- Ensure business continuity through contingency planning - The health and well-being of our people and our business go hand-in-hand.
SEKO Logistics to continue operations during ‘shelter in place’ orders.
We want to ensure to our team, our clients and our partners that SEKO Logistics will continue to operate, including in states and municipalities implement ‘shelter in place’ orders.
SEKO Logistics Remains Operational and Available to Support and Assist
As many shippers and importers are either ramping up to meet surging demand for essential items or they are temporarily shutting down their distribution centers and need assistance with short-term storage of inbound containers, we are assisting clients with their fast-changing needs around the world. We are answering our phones, emails and other messages and remain committed to supporting you supply chain needs while keeping our team safe.
Importing Medical and Non-Medical PPE Equipment into the United States
Masks intended for general public use are not regulated by FDA and can be disclaimed. This includes masks intended to be worn in factories, grocery stores or other non-healthcare workplaces, even if they are intended to protect the workers from COVID-19. Unless they are labeled as protecting against COVID-19, these masks intended for use outside a health care setting are not considered to be FDA-regulated products.
FDA's big concern are masks that are destined for a health care/medical setting. This includes N95 masks labeled for medical use. Importantly, the importer does not have to register as a medical device importer or file a premarket notification 510(k) - steps that are normally required for the importation of medical devices, so long as the guidance instructions are followed. Following the streamlined process outlined in the guidance and using the appropriate product code and intended use code, will help in clearing the import process.
Test kits face greater scrutiny. Importers must be sure ahead of time that their foreign suppliers are covered by the EUA or the discretionary enforcement policy in the guidance document. Many of the test kits are now covered by an EUA. Serology test kits require pre-notification. Labels must include four specific bullet points, as noted in the guidance.
Exporting PPE out of China
Please be advised that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce is supervising the exportation of PPE which has added 2-3 days in processing the exportation of PPE out of China. Over 1,800 manufacturers have been removed from the approved list of exporters. This is why, when sending your requests to SEKO Locations or Representatives, you will need to include the below information at a minimum. We will send out additional information soon specifically on this topic.
Minimum information requirements for quotes/solutions:
- Origin / Destination
- Weight / Volume / Number of cartons
- Cargo ready date
- Shipper information or packing list (if we don’t have this info we will not give priority for the quote). Shipper needs to be an approved shipper who can export.
Importing PPE to the USA Intended for Healthcare Use Must Meet FDA Requirements
Be sure to identify if the PPE is for Medical use (FDA) or for commercial use. While some FDA registration and reporting requirements have been temporarily suspended through the use of Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs), many are still in place. Importers interested in importing PPEs for use in healthcare environments should carefully review current FDA import requirements, EUAs, and enforcement guidelines available at:
SEKO Logistics Station Status
SEKO’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak includes taking additional actions to protect the health and wellness of employees, mitigate supply chain disruptions for clients, and ensure business continuity through contingency planning.
SEKO Medtec Certified
SEKO Pharma Certified
Green Status Areas
OPERATIONS: Business as usual
STATUS: 100% operational capacity
Amber Status Areas
Station Open/Performs Some Inside Deliveries with PPE and Contactless POD for Residential (POD for Commerical/Hospital)
- Options Provided for Consignees for Garage or Outside Unboxing Experience with PPE and Contactless POD for Residential
- Exceptions for Inside also include entering the home to access outdoor backyard delivery/assembly
Amber/Red Status Areas:
Station Open/Performs No Inside Deliveries for Residential (Will perform Inside Deliveries for Commercial)
- Options Provided for Consignees for Garage or Outside Unboxing Experience with PPE and Contactless POD for Residential
- Options Provided to delivery inside at a later time
Yellow Status Areas
Station Open/Performs Inside Deliveries with PPE and Contactless POD for Residential (POD for Commerical/Hospital)
Red Status Areas
OPERATIONS: Severely Impacted
STATUS: MISSION CRITICAL / AID AND RELIEF TRANSPORTATION ONLY – Work limited to essential and medical/relief pickups and deliveries – Much of the Operational work routed through other stations. Only essential goods delivered to homes or business via curbside and drop-off service. Essential goods and work defined by local ordinance. Priority given to Medical, Aid and Relief shipments and cargo only.
For MedTec: Work limited to essential and Medical/Relief pickups and deliveries. Warehouses function limited to urgent Medical/Relief only. Control Tower functions limited.
Although the borders between the United States and Canada as well as between the USA and Mexico have both been closed to only essential travel, cargo continues to move across all modes including ground service.
The National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Inc., (NCBFAA) forwarders and customs brokers have provided guidance that companies like SEKO would fall within the exemption provided in areas with a ‘shelter in place’ order, as our activities are essential to keep goods moving in commerce . As we will see an increase in ‘shelter in place’ orders in certain localities, SEKO will continue essential operations in these areas with some limited restrictions. These restrictions will help protect the safety of our workers in the warehouses while others transition to remote working from home with limited to no interruptions in other freight forwarding and white glove services. At the same time, we will also be able to focus on the business continuity for our clients to ensure continued operation and little to no disruption in your supply chain.
All USA branches are now operating under Amber status with the expansion of ‘Shelter in Place’ orders. As an essential business, we continue to remain open and ready to service your needs anywhere in the United States, with some restrictions in place. We will continue to update the definitions and branches.
Global Airfreight Charters
As global airlines around the world have reduced or eliminated passenger capacity completely, we have deployed our charter solutions in conjunction with any available belly capacity available. In the past few days we have seen a surge in passenger planes retrofitted to provide mini-freighter space.
As the situation is very fluid, and if you have a question about our air charter solutions or airfreight services and how we can potentially assist, please send information on any upcoming urgent needs such as origin and destination pair, dimensions, weight and whether the shipment is of a critical nature (perishable) so that we may provide a response regarding an upcoming charter that my fit your immediate or short term needs.
Airfreight Market Update
The next two weeks in China will be the highest peak in terms of demand for Air Freight. This is due to the China Labour Day holidays and getting PPE exported without a delay to the USA and Europe/UK. The global air freight market is evolving rapidly and dramatically as countries implement travel restrictions around the world, with the demand and supply dynamics changing quickly. We still strongly urge shippers that the market is evolving so dramatically that we are emphasizing to exporters and importers the need to make quick decisions to secure capacity.
Air Freight Alternatives
SEKO offering expedited options on the FCL side through our SEKO Expedited Service from China/Asia; this is a simple premium add on over the standard current contract rates that saves 7 days on the standard transit time. For LCL, we are offering a per kg model to compete with air freight options. A NYC/EWR fast option is now up and running with LCL options for Europe. We are also offering an expedited LCL service from Asia that also saves 7 days over standard LCL service options to the USA. Ocean is a viable alternative to air freight as a contingency for SEKO’s clientele.
Call your local SEKO representative for more information.
SEKO Air Charters Expanding Due To Increased Demand
CHINA TO USA:
We are adding new charters from Zhengzhou (CGO) and Shanghai (PVG) to ORD & JFK and other USA Locations. The next two weeks we will also have additional limited capacity on shared charter space from PVG to JFK and ORD.
Secure your space by emailing our global airfreight group at: firstname.lastname@example.org
USA TO CHINA: LAX to Zhengzhou (CGO) and Other Lanes
SEKO also continues the LAX-CGO (China) 3 times per week freighter started on April 3. Contact below for rates and schedules. We’re also including distance to major China airports from CGO for reference.
Contact for more info: email@example.com
CHINA TO EUROPE: Hefei Xinqiao (HFE) to Leipzig, Germany (LEJ) andZhengzhou (CGO) to Kaunas, Lithuania (KUN)
SEKO has been operating flights from China to the EU in the last few weeks and we have one AB330 and B777 Pax aircraft running for cargo and SEKO China has first priority on flight schedules. SEKO can also book any number of Aircraft we need.
SEKO is finalizing additional PVG-ORD B74F freighters for additional May uplift of medical support. Additional ad-hoc charters continue globally for certain lanes as we have done for Taiwan to New Zealand and other markets.
Contact for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
China Air Freight Demand Update
Demand for air freight space out of China peaked during Week 18 due to the influx of cargo being rushed for export before the Golden week holidays, with the majority of the shipments containing PPE. Demand for charters is at the highest so far, with the average price of a charter increasing to USD1.7 million, and with commercial space increasing to around USD17-USD19 per kg (ATA).
PVG airport is experiencing huge back logs due to the changes in customs policies, where PPE cargo is being inspected and either delayed or rejected. This then has a knock on impact on space availability when these shipments are missing their cut offs and needing to be rebooked on later flights.
The terminal currently most affected is PACTL terminal, which owns 3 of the 7 terminals in PVG airport. The list of airlines using PACTL can be found here. EAL terminal also owns 3 terminals, of which EAL’s western cargo terminal has issued a notice advising they temporarily will not be accepting any new charters after 3rd May in an attempt to clear the backlog.
Whilst the majority of goods currently being exported out of China are non-medical masks, we have also seen an increase in other products related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as test kits and disinfectant.
Demand for eCommerce has also increased substantially, with the main consolidators booking regular charter operations purely for eCommerce ex-China and Hong Kong. Although the demand for exporting PPE from Hong Kong is lower due to cross border customs restrictions for PPE, the increase for eCommerce parcel demand has filled the capacity of airfreight moving out of Hong Kong, with the majority of demand shipping to LHR, LGG and AMS, as well as JFK, ORD and LAX.
The week commencing 6th May, after the Golden Week holiday, will be another peak time in China. Pent up demand for exports will reach the airlines and terminals soon after services are re-opened. We are expecting this demand to remain until 15th May, after which, rates are predicted to fall as the production of PPE is curtailed with the introduction of new PPE production policies. All PPE now requires proper testing and certifications, ensuring only quality products are being exported.
China Capacity Update
In the last few weeks, an increasing number of airlines have converted their passenger planes to carry cargo in the cabins. A B777-300 can now carry around 290-350cbm of cargo in the belly and cabin, depending on carton sizes. Many airlines have also increased passenger flights to earn revenue from the PPE demand or to provide additional services to their home countries.
The majority of the US registered airlines have had to commit to Federal Emergency Management Agency) which is a contractual obligation for any US flag carrier. This is similar to the US government’s enforceable policy, called “CRAFT” on Airlines registered in the USA. The US government has the authority to call on all airlines registered in the US for national service. The carrier, N8 and some charter operators have committed to carry medical goods between China and the USA on behalf of FEMA.
Weeks 17 and 18 were difficult for freight forwarders with contracted charters operating out of PVG airport. The weekends of 24th April to 26th April and 30th to 3rd May have been challenging for airlines and forwarders at PVG airport. Huge lines of trucks lining up to hand over cargo and being unable to get goods customs cleared or handed over in time for flight cut offs has caused many airlines to depart empty, with many forwarders losing space that they had paid for. Severe congestion at the cargo terminal, cargo being handed over too early and the increase in customs rejecting PPE are all reasons for the disorder.
PPE Policy update
Another last-minute PPE policy update was issued by Chinese customs and the Ministry of Commerce. These last minute policies are being implemented as China is coming under increased pressure from other countries for sending fake PPE goods or selling non-Medical goods but using it for medical purposes in other countries.
China has divided PPE into two categories; Medical Non-Medical.
For all non-medical PPE, if the shippers or manufacturers are not on an “approved” list, otherwise known as the “white list”, then these shippers and manufacturers cannot have any CE/FDA/NIOSH certification logos on their retail packing.
This new policy has created many booking cancellations for forwarders as most export shipments are failing customs clearance inspections. Most forwarders in China are now demanding cargo ready for carriage with a minimum of 3 days before a flight. Shipments should reach airports and allow a minimum of 2 days for customs clearance and inspection. The total lead time for origin handling has increased to 5-6 days before flight departure.
Although it is not a government issued policy, most forwarders and master loaders require all freight charges for PPE shipments to be paid up front, 72 hours before flight departure. This is due to capacity from charter operators and master loaders and forwarders not being able to outlay large amounts of cash (up to USD1.5million per flight) and wait up to 30 days for the client to arrange payment. Another key reason is that due to customs inspections and rejections, unless clients are paying freight charges in advance, flights are often moving empty and forwarders would have to bear the loss.
Ocean Freight Options
The ocean team is in continual contact with our core and supplemental carrier base to ensure cargo flow as normal. Standard FCL and LCL Options are in place with our core and supplemental carrier base. As equipment and space may be at a premium, especially in the Trans Pacific trade, carriers are asking for detailed forecasts of equipment size and types as well as target requested arrival dates at destination. This helps plan actual carrier and sailing options along with cutoffs. In some cases, SEKO might have to work with two or more carriers that normally only one carrier might be used for SEKO client freight.
Ocean Freight Market Update
Ocean is not tied to the same regulations announced by the Trump Administration that applies to restrictions on aircraft entering the United States. Because of this, ocean is a viable alternative to air freight as a contingency for SEKO’s clientele. Despite global available TEU capacity is expected to remain down throughout 2020, SEKO offers an array of transit and service combinations to mitigate instability along the supply chain of our client base.
While the situation continues to evolve, the near term impact on ocean is mainly from China. We can offer alternatives for standard transit times and service as well as expedited solutions for FCL/LCL that can save transits by 5 to 7 days into both the West Coast and interior USA that can also be a cost savings over any available air options for SEKO’s client base. Even considering ocean remains a viable and relatively stable solution to move goods internationally at the moment, our carriers ask for reliable forecasting on volumes and also to provide target dates that cargo is required at destination. Considering 2M in TEUs have been withdrawn globally from the market since Chinese New Year, ocean is open for business. Fuel and IMO charges are down from last quarter ($190 per ton) yet carriers may try to increase fuel, although the current market does not support their case.
Contact for more info: email@example.com
Medical Rapid Response Team
The medical relief effort is currently ramping up quickly. Our SEKO MedTec team encourages all medical aid and relief manufacturers of respirators, ventilators, gloves, masks, gowns and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to make contact immediately to begin planning for capacity. The focus right now is on New York City and surrounding metro area in the United States.
We’ve updated our USA map to include which facilities are SEKO MedTec certified to handle forward stocking and short term warehousing for ventilators, respirators and diagnostic equipment, as well as the pharma certified facilities. The entire network of 62 SEKO USA locations can all handle and support for surge capacity related to other medical supplies including gloves, gowns and masks.
SEKO’s supply chain resources include:
SEKO MedTec leverages our White Glove, air-ride network to support high-value, sensitive electronics, medical devices and more. Multi-modal services include expedited and exclusive trucks, air cargo, and LTL with White Glove and last mile.
Resilient, remote workforce:
Our systems enable us to work remotely as needed and they are strategically located across the US to support our clients. We’ve engaged our business continuity plans to ensure you are supported at any time you need us!
Response Team Control Tower:
Call: 1-877-581-5681 24/7 (Suggested for urgent movements)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Available 0700-1900 EDT)
SEKO continues to operate throughout Europe with those that are able to working from home. Road freight is possible, although border checks that have been re-established on many borders within the EU to prevent traveling un-necessary have a negative effect on transit times.
United Kingdom and Ireland
SEKO continues to operate across the United Kingdom and Ireland. For all staff that can work remote, they already are and we continue to be fully operational. Our facilities dedicated to e-commerce fulfillment in Milton Keynes and cross border e-commerce parcel processing and airfreight operations near Heathrow in Egham continue to be operational, with some restrictions to ensure social distancing. Our Dublin facility continues operations, including for critical medical and pharma logistics.
All SEKO Mexico customer service staff are working from home. All necessary IT infrastructure and assistance has been arranged for our staff. Our multi-user facilities are working regularly for all our E-Commerce, Home delivery and other fulfilment operations, taking all precautions as needed. Our ports, airports and cross borders offices as part of essential services will continue to operate but with reduced capacity in accordance with Customs Authorities. Land services, LTL/FTL (Northbound and Southbound) are still moving with reduced capacity, we expect delays, essential commodities have priority. Airlines have diminished their capacity by having less flight options, but continue working. We are mitigating supply and demand chain disruptions while working with healthcare and government authorities.
Australia and New Zealand
SEKO continues to operate cross border eCommerce parcel services and airfreight operations out of its Sydney location. Australia is currently on a level two lockdown and any staff members who can work remotely are doing so. Warehouse operations continue with social distancing measures in place to protect staff. New Zealand are in the midst of a level four lockdown however freight and courier services are considered essential services during this time and continue to operate however returns services are temporarily halted.
Bookings must be made 7 days in advance due to PAX cancellations and reduced number of flights. Air rates can vary between booking and actual date of departure. Even if some airlines have a booking schedule, the schedule may fluctuate at the time of booking and actual progress because the confirmation occurs on the day before or on the of departure. Air rates and space availability is subject to change and it can change on a daily bases.
South Africa, Philippines, India and Pakistan
Some countries have implemented even stricter curfew measures which will have a more severe impact on cargo operations in the next 2-4 weeks. We will continue to monitor these as they arise, including in the countries stated above. Be advised that there may serious delays in or out of these countries regardless of transportation mode.
* SEKO South Africa remains open for business especially to support Medical Aid & Relief shipments via air and ocean.
Home Delivery Status Update
Changes in Home Delivery Procedures by USA Station COVID-19 Reporting Status.
*Effective Immediately and Subject to Change*
In accordance with our precautions, plans and actions being carried out, we are also updating our Home Delivery policies and procedures with a focus on safety, health and business continuity.
There are certain aspects of our Home Delivery services in the United States that will change over the next 30-60 days:
We are currently evaluating our procedures and processes around inside residential deliveries in the United States to ensure a safe and contactless delivery experience for our clients and for consumers. More information to be released next week.
Effective immediately: All drivers entering homes for White Glove services are to practice efforts in reducing transmission risk.
The following protocols are being made aware and are being implemented:
- Personal hygiene expectations (washing hands frequently for a minimum of 30 seconds)
- Enhanced sanitizing awareness (including offices, docks, phones, tablets, and pens)
- Staying home if unwell
- Social distancing (avoiding handshakes, sharing food, large grouping)
- Personal travel advisories
- Advising drivers to wear clean attire when entering a residence (latex gloves recommended, shoe slips, and masks where supplies allow)
SEKO Solutions to keep your supply chain moving
An alternative solution to both air freight and ocean freight. SEKO’s Sea-Air service is a blend of rapid ocean and premium air legs, with a choice of strategically located hubs to provide faster transit times at lower costs.
Given the capacity issues predicted in the coming months, our Rail-Air solution involves rail freighting cargo from China into Europe via Poland, and air freighting onward to the UK and USA.
Dedicated express solutions on multi-modal express service between China / South East Asia & USWC / Select IPI’s. SEKO’s Transpacific Express is faster than ocean and more affordable than air.
For those international shipping requirements that just can’t wait, or global deliveries of stock, parts, consumables and supplies.
COVID-19 News and Resources
The Wall Street Journal
U.S. Travel Ban Is Expected to Snarl Trans-Atlantic Airfreight
The New York Times
Air Freight Rates Skyrocket Amid Passenger Flight Cuts, Chinese Factory Restarts
U.S. trucking and delivery firms shift services as coronavirus spreads
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention