Myanmar shipping lines start to miss as protests impact supply chains

Shipping companies have started to suspend freight bookings in Myanmar.

A nationwide general strike took place yesterday, with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets to protest the military takeover on February 1.

“The situation is getting more and more tense,” according to Hapag-Lloyd.

“Operationally, terminals in Myanmar are near full capacity, and food services, road transport are limited and a number of factories and depots are operating with reduced manpower.

“With this, Hapag-Lloyd has taken the decision to temporarily suspend all import reservations to Myanmar with immediate effect.”

A Maersk spokeswoman said the carrier was monitoring the situation closely, but still accepting reservations.

“The operational situation in ports continues to deteriorate, we also have limited trucking and warehousing services. Customs clearance is strongly impacted, ”she added.

Bank closures have also had an impact on freight, for example, with CMA CGM announcing that it has temporarily halted freight payments in Myanmar, instead asking customers to settle payments abroad.

David Ramalingam, Myanmar country director for Scan Global Logistics, said the disruption in banking operations prevented freight forwarders and shippers from processing customs documents, resulting in delays.

“Shipping lines have also stopped calling the downtown MIP port and, until further notice, will only call Thilawa (MITT),” he said. The charging star.

A key factor in the freight disruption was the fact that supply chain workers joined in the protests, known locally as the CDM (civil disobedience movement). Mr Ramalingam said the port authority’s customs service was operating at half capacity, with workers being forced “to enter the building through the back door” as the main entrance was blocked by protesters.

“More and more agents are starting to function again, but there is still a lot to do with CDM,” he added.

Warehouses, container freight stations and distribution centers have all been affected by the CDM, he said, many have closed and others operating with only 20-50% of the workforce. normal.

“Due to the number of factories still producing, especially in the clothing sector, storage space is running out as exports are not performing well, if at all,” Ramalingam noted.

The Myanmar Container Trucks Association joined the protests last week, adding to freight delays at terminals in downtown Yangon, but Ramalingam said not all trucks were on the roads.

“The biggest trucking operators in the country don’t do CDMs,” he explained. “They get to the port by truck around 4 am, before anyone notices. Their rates are double and they have a fantastic time doing all the work.

Elsewhere, reports are mixed regarding operations at Yangon Airport, although it appears most scheduled flights have been canceled as a limited number of charter flights have landed.

Mr Ramalingam said there are still options for land-air and land-sea freight via Bangkok, however, the Myawaddy border post is operating normally and no bottlenecks have been reported on the roads.

“Despite a 50% reduction in inbound freight from Thailand, most of the warehouses in the free zone are full and it is easy to get cargo back to Yangon or other destinations,” he said. declared.