Shipping to Hong Kong from South China has become more challenging with COVID-related slowdowns and the approaching Chinese New Year. However, alternatives exist to keep cargo flowing smoothly.
Here’s some background. Every day, large volumes of cargo move from South China manufacturing hubs around Shenzhen into Hong Kong for local delivery or air/ocean export. Much of this cargo is shipped using either cross-border trucking service or a Sea-Road solution using a short-haul feeder service that ships containers from one of South China’s seaports into Hong Kong.
These solutions are currently not 100% reliable.
- Container feeder services are scaling back, or even suspending, operations since factory volumes are down due to 1) workers being out due to COVID illnesses and 2) factories shutting down early for the coming Chinese New Year – a 2-week celebration starting January 23.
- Freight capacity is limited for cross-border trucking services using Hong Kong-based drivers. On top of the already limited driver supply, the Chinese government requires a COVID-negative test for these drivers and factory pick-up locations must hold a valid site code that indicates the site is free of COVID.
This situation threatens the ability of manufacturers to quickly ship goods to customers.
Alternative solutions exist for shipping to Hong Kong from South China
To prevent supply chain disruption for shipping to Hong Kong from South China, several alternatives exist.
TRUCK-TO-TRUCK VIA QIANHAI
This solution picks up goods from the factory and trucks them directly to Dimerco’s HKG warehouse via a bonded warehouse in Shenzhen’s Qianhai hub. Use of a local driver for pickup eliminates the need for a COVID-negative test. Once in the bonded area in Qianhai, cargo is then transferred to a truck with a Hong Kong vehicle license for final delivery to Hong Kong via the Shenzhen Bay customs crossing. After arrival in Hong Kong, cargo can be delivered locally or prepared for immediate export. Transit time: 2 days.
OCEAN FEEDER SERVICE FROM HUMAN DONGGUAN TO HONG KONG (FCL ONLY)
While most seaports in South China will have slow/suspended feeder service to Hong Kong in the January-February period, and possibly beyond, feeder service from Dongguan Port will be continuous. To reduce the risk of supply chain slowdowns, many shippers are choosing to route freight through Dongguan. A local truck picks up the cargo from the factory and delivers it to Dongguan Port for shipment to the seaport in Hong Kong. There, it is picked up and taken to Dimerco’s Hong Kong warehouse where it is prepared for air or sea export. Transit time: 4 days.
SEA-AIR SOLUTION FOR GLOBAL AIR FREIGHT SHIPMENTS
For global air freight shipments, Dimerco is one of a select few global forwarders that worked with the Airport Authority of Hong Kong on a pilot program to move cargo from South China direct to Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) via an ocean feeder service. For this solution, ULDs are built and X-ray screening done at the HKIA Logistics Park in Dongguan. These aircraft-ready ULDs are then taken to the Dongguan Seaport to be loaded onto feeder vessels and delivered to a port of discharge very close to HKIA. There is no need for an additional truck move to the airport. ULDs move directly to the aircraft for loading. Transit time: 4-5 days.
The best choice for shipping from South China into Hong Kong
Of the alternatives described, the best solution really depends on your location, freight mode and service requirements. Manufacturers that can export direct from a South China port won’t come into Hong Kong because the costs are similar. But for many factories Hong Kong is the closest and best option.
Whichever option you choose, the most important thing is to manage the current capacity shortage associated with the usual cross-border freight services from South China into Hong Kong.
To discuss how you can manage your risk and which option might work best for you, contact the global freight shipping specialists at Dimerco.