MSC has developed a Suspension of Transit (SOT) container shipping programme to prepare for a recovery in demand for freight services once the impact of the novel coronavirus Covid-19 eases.
The SOT programme includes container yard storage in six transhipment hubs across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. That ensures that goods can be shipped close to their destinations as soon as possible and provides easier cargo flow according to MSC.
The Swiss-based shipping company says it is a flexible cargo service that will help to fulfil the imminent resumption of demand from Asia and ensure service continuity.
“The programme builds on MSC’s ongoing efforts to ensure business continuity and the maintenance of vital container carriage services, such as the movement of food, fresh produce, medical equipment and other essential goods,” said MSC in its announcement. “The new SOT initiative is focused in particular on a resumption of demand of a wide variety of goods from Asia.”
MSC notes that while positive signs of recovery have begun to emerge in Asia and factories have restarted production, major ports of destination may still not be ready to discharge containers. The shipping carrier says its new SOT programme aims to fulfil the resuming demand for raw materials and finished products from Asia by providing yard storage at major strategic points around the world: Bremerhaven in Germany, Busan in South Korea, King Abdullah Port in Saudi Arabia, Lome in Togo, Rodman PSA Panama International Terminal in Panama, and Tekirdag Asyaport in Turkey.
The programme is aimed at all shippers with containers from Asia and all types of cargo, except reefer (refrigerated cargo), dangerous goods and project cargo (such as large, out-of-gauge pieces of heavy equipment that do not normally fit into containers).
MSC adds its SOT programme provides potential cost savings for customers faced with high warehousing storage costs at destination, demurrage, per-diem and other charges. It will also free up space at origin factories and warehouses and avoid excess inventory at site, bringing cargo closer to destination markets and alleviating the risk of congestion or closure at ports of discharge.
The lead time will be reduced once operations resume at destination ports, and the programme will also add storage for beneficial cargo owners and non-vessel owning common carriers, who would otherwise reach their full capacity, according to MSC.