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  • Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs*), was 12.6% below previous-year levels in August (-14% for international operations). That is a modest improvement from the 14.4% year-on-year drop recorded in July. Seasonally-adjusted demand grew by 1.1% month-on-month in August.

  • Global capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometers (ACTKs), shrank by 29.4% in August ( 31.6% for international operations) compared to the previous year. This is basically unchanged from the 31.8% year-on-year drop in July.

  • Belly capacity for international air cargo was 67% below the levels of August 2019 owing to the withdrawal of passenger services amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This was partially offset by a 28.1% increase in dedicated freighter capacity. Daily widebody freighter utilization is close to 11 hours per day, the highest levels since these figures have been tracked in 2012.

  • Economic activity continued to recover in August reflected, among other things, in the performance of the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) indicator of economic health in the manufacturing sector:
    • The new export orders component of the manufacturing PMI rose by 5.1% year-on-year, its best performance since late 2017.

    • The PMI tracking global manufacturing output increased month-on-month and remained above the 50-mark, indicating growth.

“Air cargo demand improved by 1.8 percentage points in August compared to July. That’s still down 12.6% on previous year levels and well below the 5.1% improvement in the manufacturing PMI. Improvement is being stalled by capacity constraints as large parts of the passenger fleet, which normally carries 50% of all cargo, remain grounded. The peak season for air cargo will start in the coming weeks, but with severe capacity constraints shippers may look to alternatives such as ocean and rail to keep the global economy moving,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO. 

August 2020 (% year-on-year)

World share1



CLF (%-pt)2

CLF (level)3

Total Market












Asia Pacific












Latin America






Middle East






North America






¹% of industry CTKs in 2019   ²Year-on-year change in load factor   ³Load factor level 

August Regional Performance

  • Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for international air cargo fall 18.3% in August 2020 compared to the same period a year earlier. After a robust initial recovery in May, month-on-month growth in seasonally-adjusted demand declined for the second consecutive month. International capacity is particularly constrained in the region, down 35%.

  • North American carriers reported that demand fell 4% compared to the previous year—the third consecutive month with a single-digit decline. This steady performance is due in part to strong domestic and transpacific demand on the Asia-North America route, reflecting e-commerce demand for products manufactured in Asia. International capacity decreased 28.2%.

  • European carriers reported a decrease in demand of 19.3% compared to the previous year. Improvements have been slight but consistent since April’s performance of -33%. Demand on most key trade lanes to / from the region remained weak. The large Europe–Asia market was down 18.6% year-on-year in August. International capacity decreased 33.5%.

  • Middle Eastern carriers reported a decline of 6.8% in year-on-year international cargo volumes in August, a significant improvement from the 15.1% fall in July. Regional airlines have aggressively added capacity in the last few months with international capacity improving from a 42% fall at the trough in April, to a decline of 24.2% in August, the most resilient of all regions. Demand on trade routes to and from Asia and North America remained strong with demand down 3.3% and up 2.3% respectively year-on-year.

  • Latin American carriers reported demand steady at -26.1% compared to the previous year, ending three consecutive months of deteriorating demand. Demand on trade routes between Latin America (particularly Central America) and North America have compensated for weakness on other routes. Capacity remains significantly constrained in the region with international capacity decreasing 38.5% in August, the largest fall of any region.

  • African airlines saw demand increase by 1% in August. This was the fourth consecutive month in which the region posted the strongest increase in international demand and only instance of year-on-year growth among all regions in international volumes. Investment flows along the Africa-Asia route continue to drive the regional outcomes.

View August Air Cargo Market Analysis (pdf)

Despite a gradual reinstatement of capacity, prices were about two thirds higher in August and early September compared with the same period last year, while year-on-year tonnages appear relatively stable – but down 17%, with shipment numbers down 29%.

The full report can be seen here:

The impact of the pandemic has lessened businesses’ ability to prepare for Brexit, with nearly half (47%) saying that the impact of dealing with COVID-19 has negatively affected preparations.

The findings come as the CBI’s latest Growth Indicator reports that private sector activity fell in the quarter to September, but at a slower pace than last month (-23% from -39%), marking the third consecutive month in which the rate of decline has eased.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

“Next week Brexit talks enter the eleventh hour. Now must be the time for political leadership and the spirit of compromise to shine through on both sides. A deal can and must be made.

“Businesses face a hat-trick of unprecedented challenges: rebuilding from the first wave of COVID-19, dealing with the resurgence of the virus and preparing for significant changes to the UK’s trading relationship with the EU.

“More than three-quarters of businesses want to see a deal that will support people’s jobs and livelihoods. This matters for firms and communities across Europe.

“For the whole continent, the pandemic has diminished firms’ ability to prepare for an abrupt interruption of restrictions on trade and movement between the UK and the EU.

“A good deal will provide the strongest possible foundation as countries build back from the pandemic. It would keep UK firms competitive by minimising red tape and extra costs, freeing much needed time and resource to overcome the difficult times ahead.

“Governments across Europe have shown a level of ambition to fight the pandemic many wouldn't have believed - time to show that same creativity and flexibility on securing a Brexit deal.”

The composite measure, based on 648 responses (to surveys conducted between 26 August and 15 September 2020), saw activity in the distribution sector stabilise in the quarter to September (-1% from -26%), after five rolling quarters of decline. The pace of decline also slowed again in manufacturing (-20% from -46%), consumer services (-39% from -64%) and business & professional services (-28% from -32%).

Looking ahead, the fall in private sector activity is expected to ease again over the next three months (-11%). While distribution firms expect activity to fall (-23%), consumer services (-22%) and manufacturers (-6%) expect a further easing, while business & professional services firms (-2%) expect business volumes to stabilise.

A supplementary question found that private sector activity on the whole remains 16% below what would be expected under ‘normal conditions’ (i.e. in the absence of COVID-19).

On the findings from the latest CBI Growth Indicator, Alpesh Paleja, CBI Lead Economist, said:

“The pace of decline in private sector activity has continued to slow this month, with many businesses having sprung back into operation.

“Prioritising bringing infections down is the right move and the Chancellor’s new package of support will go a long way towards helping businesses and households through winter.

“But these are challenging times and we must still keep a close eye on those sectors that will remain under severe pressure in the coming months.”

Source: CBI

  • Businesses urged to sign up to new Trader Support Service with fewer than 100 days until end of Transition period
  • The free end-to-end service will support traders by submitting declarations on their behalf
  • Provides advice on steps traders need to take to prepare for upcoming changes to trade, as set out in the NI Protocol

Tens of thousands of traders will start to receive emails and letters from today, with details on the launch of the TSS and its benefits for UK businesses.

The free-to-use digital service will help businesses and traders of all sizes to navigate the changes to the way goods move, once the Northern Ireland Protocol comes into effect on 1 January 2021.

Traders who sign up to the TSS will be guided through the new processes under the Northern Ireland Protocol, and can also use it to complete digital declarations.

The service will:

  • Provide a free end-to-end support package to manage import and safety and security declarations on behalf of traders.

  • Educate businesses on what the Protocol means for them, and the steps they need to take to comply with it. This will include online training sessions and webinars, with information being continually updated as we move closer to 1 January 2021.

  • Help to complete relevant declaration forms for all businesses moving goods into Northern Ireland under new processes in the Northern Ireland Protocol that start from 1 January 2021.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove MP, said:

“The new free-to-use Trader Support Service, launching today, will provide crucial support and guidance to businesses moving goods under the NI Protocol.

“Backed by up to £200 million of UK Government funding, it reflects our deep commitment to support the Northern Ireland economy and protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

“With little over three months to go until the end of the transition period, it is vital that traders sign up and take advantage of the scheme, so that they can continue to trade seamlessly and seize new opportunities on 1 January 2021.”

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis MP, said:

“Today’s launch of the Trader Support Service underlines the UK Government’s continued commitment to ensuring Northern Ireland’s businesses get the support they need as we approach the end of the Transition period.

“I urge traders to sign up to this free service to take advantage of import processes being dealt with on their behalf, to seek advice on what the NI Protocol means for their business and to understand what steps they need to take to prepare.”

Seamus Leheny, Policy Manager, Logistics UK, said:

“We are delighted to see the launch of the Trader Support Service, which should help NI business transition to new trading arrangements, protect continuity of trade and help ensure EU Exit is a success for the NI economy.”

The TSS will be delivered by a consortium led by Fujitsu, which was selected as the supplier following an open and transparent procurement process.

Source: HMRC

If your passport is burgundy or has “European Union” on the cover, it can be used until it expires

In order to use an adult or child passport to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland) it will need to be valid for at least 6 months from the date of travel.

If the current passport was renewed before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

By clicking on the following link, it is possible to check whether a passport needs to be renewed before travelling to Europe from 1 January 2021.

Check a passport for travel to Europe from 1 January 2021

Government guidance is that the passport must be renewed before travelling if the relevant validity period remaining on the passport is less than that needed for the country of destination.

No right turn from Southern Perimeter Road Westbound into Stirling Road Sunday 27th September (22:00) until Saturday 3 rd October (06:00).

Dyer & Butler are carrying out essential maintenance works on the Southern Perimeter Road, between Seaford Road and Stirling Road. Works include replacing various failing manhole covers and carrying out essential resurfacing. For these works to be carried out safely, lane closures and Contraflows are required using the below Traffic Management plan.

Traffic Management Plan

Once contraflows are in place, right turns onto Seaford & Stirling Road will be banned, with diversions in place as per the plans. These Traffic Management plans will be in place from Sunday 27th September (22:00) until Saturday 3rd October (06:00).

Please can you please pass this information on to the relevant people within your organisation.

At BIFA, we use Associate Member, Citation, for HR and H & S business support and they have put together a checklist of considerations needed make to get your workplace safe. They have allowed us to pass this information on if it is of use.

Many BIFA Members already have such business support so this is entirely optional.

How to prepare for COVID-secure inspections

Advisory letters were sent on the 24th August by the Border Force team at Tilbury to all traders identified as being impacted by the transfer and the date of transfer was confirmed by the team on 14th September.     Those BIFA Member locations which are currently using EPU code 150 to clear CHIEF entries for goods need to change to a new EPU code of 065. Those already using EPU code 065, do not need to take any action. Additionally, they will also need to change to this code on Inventory systems CNS and Destin8.

All Community Transit (NCTS) movements will move from badge code GB000093 to badge code GB000060 for both Office of Departure and Office of Destination movements.   All Border Force examinations will be carried out by the new controlling office at Dover, which is open 24/7.

All paperwork/documents and public enquiries (CAP exam, licences, ships spares & stores, customs entry enquires, undeclared goods, transhipments etc…) will also be dealt with by the new controlling office.

The contact details for this office are as follows:

Phone: 03000 515830 & 03000 515831

Border Force International Trade
Border Force South East & Europe
Freight Clearance Centre
Lord Warden Square
Western Docks
CT17 9DN

The phone numbers above are those of the team on shift who can take enquires 24/7 and are the primary contact numbers for the BIFA Members to use.


Winter Economy Plan

Job support scheme

  • A new Job Support Scheme will be introduced from 1 November to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to coronavirus. Under the scheme, which will run for six months, the government will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due to decreased demand.

  • Employers will continue to pay the wages of staff for the hours they work - but for the hours not worked, the government and the employer will each pay one third of their equivalent salary. In order to support only viable jobs, employees must be working at least 33% of their usual hours. The level of grant will be calculated based on employee’s usual salary, capped at £697.92 per month. The Job Support Scheme will be open to businesses across the UK even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme, with further guidance being published in due course.

Tax cuts and deferrals

  • The temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors will be extended to the end of March next year. In addition, business who deferred their VAT bills will be given more breathing space through the New Payment Scheme, which gives them the option to pay back in smaller instalments. Self-assessment taxpayers will be able to benefit from a separate additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.

Giving businesses flexibility to pay back loans

  • Businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan will be given the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years through a new Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system. Interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays will also be available to businesses.

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders will be given the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to ten years if it will help businesses to repay the loan.

  • The government is extending four temporary loan schemes to 30 November 2020 for new applications: As a result, more businesses will now be able to benefit from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Future Fund.




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