Date: Monday, February 7, 2022
Source: The Straits Times
SINGAPORE - A triple whammy of Covid-19 infections among airport staff, surge in shipments and the Chinese New Year holiday have led to severe delays in the processing of cargo at the usually efficient Changi Airport terminals.
Containers that usually take hours to process have been taking days for the past two weeks, freight forwarders said.
In a statement to The Straits Times on Saturday (Feb 5), a spokesman for Sats, Changi Airport’s chief ground handler for airfreight, confirmed the build-up of cargo.
It was caused by the surge in cargo shipments pre-Chinese New Year, lower volume of cargo picked up by agents due to the Chinese New Year holiday, and disruption to normal deployment levels caused by Covid-19 infection.
It also confirmed that there was one positive polymerase chain reaction test among its 240 cargo import staff and several others testing positive using the antigen rapid tests.
“Cargo imports is the only operation affected by the delay while all other ground handling operations, including passenger services and aircraft handling, are operating normally.
“Sats has deployed additional manpower from other parts of its operations to alleviate the situation and 70 per cent of the backlog has already been cleared,” the spokesman said.
It added that it expects cargo import operations to return to normal by Feb 8.
Concerned freight forwarders had written in to ST to say that the build-up has led to delays in the delivery of imported goods, from electronics to books, to merchants.
Ships waiting for urgent parts brought in by airfreight are also marooned at Singapore’s ports, while others are staying behind schedule to receive their shipment, they said.
Videos taken from inside and outside Sats’ terminals show pallets of unopened cargo piling outside the usual cargo holding areas.