FIATA’s Region Americas held a meeting on 27 May 2020 via Zoom to discuss pressing matters for freight forwarders, particularly the challenges faced due to COVID-19. The meeting was attended by 13 delegates from North, Central and South America and covered a wide variety of topics impacting the region.
Key issues discussed included sea and land transport in the Americas, and developments in airfreight, security and vocational training. On the first topic, Chile reported a 30% decrease in ocean freight, which is especially affecting small and medium importers and exporters. In Mexico, some issues have been observed at the Tijuana border crossing with the United States, while the Laredo crossing with the USA presents no specific problems – but it is not as fluid as usual. Mexico’s southern borders with Honduras and Guatemala are not closed, but are operating more slowly than usual. The border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua remains closed.
In terms of airfreight, capacities are severely limited, due to the COVID-19 crisis. Rates have skyrocketed, and there has been a slow re-bound of capacity vs demand, as more and more airlines seek to re-purpose passenger aircraft to carry freight. However, this comes with some issues, especially regarding dangerous goods – a matter being addressed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
As for security in the region, Canada has not seen a security problem and the deadline for cargo screening remains in place until January 2021. In Argentina, there are restrictions on operating ships in the port of Buenos Aires, which include a 40-day quarantine that has to be respected.
Given the rapid changes triggered by the pandemic, FIATA’s Region Americas will hold more regular meetings to continue to discuss the situation and identify the best ways to address issues.