Balikbayan boxes for Christmas face delays as Ukraine war, Taiwan tension continues

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Balikbayan boxes for Christmas face delays as Ukraine war, Taiwan tension continues

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and recent tensions in Taiwan have caused delays in delivering balikbayan boxes for Christmas.

The head of a group of cargo forwarders said that shipping companies have had to reroute to other transshipment points for safety reasons.

“Before, it used to take up to 30 days for the cargo to arrive in Manila. Now it’s 45 [days],” Allan Michael Bautista, chairman of the 14-member League of Freight Forwarders (LFF), said.

Bautista said it could take up to 60 days to ship packages to Visayas and Mindanao.

“Many import-export routes have been disarrayed because of the war [in Ukraine]. The traditional routes had to be set aside in place of rerouting the cargo ships. This in turn has been causing added delays because of the resulting choke points,” he added.

Bautista said there is no direct way to get to the Philippines by sea from the Middle East.

“They really change the ship’s route whenever they see possible danger ahead.”

Shipping companies also skipped Kaohsiung at the height of tensions between China, Taiwan, and the United States following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August this year.

The situation is made worse by the usual congestion at the ports at this time of year when shipments of care boxes to the Philippines and other places worldwide are at their peak because of the holidays coming up at the end of the year. BKM/ Expat Media


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