The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected Asian PCB shipments. Here’s some timely information to help you understand what’s happening:

The good news is that most offshore board factories are once again fully operational. Health precautions remain in place to ensure that all employees stay safe. And the factories are working diligently to clear the backlog. They’re also pushing to reduce standard leadtimes as much as possible.

Over the past couple of weeks, however, PCB manufacturers have experienced a surge in problems shipping out of China. All of the logistics providers (Fedex, UPS, DHL, etc.) have cut back their service and increased pricing.

This appears to be prompted by the drastic reduction in commercial flights. Most shipping companies use commercial flights to some degree, and the number of flights has been reduced by 80-90% on some routes, especially from Asia to North America.

In addition, the capacity that does exist has been prioritized for medical supplies and products deemed essential for the fight against the coronavirus.

FedEx and UPS have placed limits on the number and weight of shipments. FedEx is not accepting Economy service and is forcing all shipments to use Priority service, which has a higher rate.

Shipping prices have jumped from 15% to 60% over previous rates, depending on the carrier, weight, and service. As a result of the reduced shipping service and higher costs, PCB orders are being delayed, and they face longer transit times when they do leave the factory. Most shipments are delayed two to three days, and in some cases, by a week or more.

Offshore board houses are looking at their logistics options and pushing freight carriers as much as they can on service and price. But in such a widespread and severe situation, there’s only so much they can do.

Please be patient during this time with what are hopefully only temporary delays. Your PCB manufacturers are doing all they can to meet your needs during this unprecedented challenge.