Sri Lanka exporters face higher air freight costs

Apr 23, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan exporters face higher transport costs with the flight disruptions caused by volcanic ash over Europe sending air freight rates shooting up and causing a space crunch, officials said. Tony de Livera, chairman of the Sri Lanka Freight Forwarders Association, said the flight disruptions have disrupted local businesses relying on air freight, caused uncertainties and sent costs up.

“The flight disruption affected us in a big way,” he said. “We can’t ship to Europe any more and rates have gone up tremendously.”

Most European airlines are not accepting cargo locally for carriage anywhere in Europe or even onward after many flights over Europe were grounded because of the dangers posed by an ash cloud sent up by a volcanic eruption in Iceland.

“There’s no movement over the Atlantic, although there is movement to the US going over the Pacific Ocean,” de Livera said.

For express delivery services, where high rates are paid for on-time guaranteed delivery, although the same higher rates are charged, delivery on time is no longer guaranteed because of the huge backlog of cargo that is causing delays.

Transit time can be anywhere between 4-6 days, de Livers said.