DHL turns to charter flights and rail to avoid capacity crunch

By Damian Brett

DHL Global Forwarding is utilising charter flights and rail services from China to keep coronavirus-related supply chains moving in light of capacity shortages.

In a market update, the forwarder said that supply chains are facing bottlenecks in supplying medical equipment, stricter controls at international borders, and a lack of airfreight capacity.

“Despite the strained situation in air and ocean freight, urgently-needed protective equipment, medicine, and SARS-CoV-2 test kits in particular are still being transported,” the forwarder said.

Tobias Schmidt, chief executive DHL Global Forwarding in Germany, said: “We’re currently working faster than ever. Our employees are working almost around the clock to get important deliveries to where they are urgently needed.

“We’re currently seeing a strong shift in demand towards products and goods needed in the fight against Covid-19.

“For example, for the past week, we have been transporting around 100,000 Covid-19 test tubes a day from China to Germany and the Czech Republic for a customer specialising in medical accessories.

“We’re also still transporting everyday industrial goods and products. Flexibility and pragmatism are needed to meet demand as quickly as possible.

“We have been using numerous charter flights to ensure that our customers can maintain their supply chains despite the sharp decline in availability among our commercial carriers.”

Additionally, the capacities for complete trains on the New Silk Road have almost doubled in recent weeks.

In ocean freight, DHL Global Forwarding is also offering its customers business continuity solutions — the goods are stored either in secured container hubs or warehouses near the destination so they can be quickly delivered when needed.

DHL Global Forwarding relies primarily on Frankfurt and Leipzig as its main logistics hubs and close to the airports are transhipment centres for medical products.

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