On this page, you will find our latest updates on the COVID-19 developments and their global and regional impacts on air freight, sea freight and road transportation.
November 23, 2021:
Updates in all sections of "Impact on Air Logistics".
After almost two years, we continue to be in a global pandemic but see many areas returning to a new normal. We remain vigilant in all our offices and operations and closely monitor developments globally.
More than ever we see the importance of uninterrupted supply chains and the role the logistics industry plays for society as a whole. We take our responsibility very seriously at Kuehne+Nagel. We are thankful for the positive feedback we receive every day from customers whose supply chains we serve under difficult circumstances. This motivates everyone involved - truck drivers, warehouse workers, sea, air and road freight experts, and management - to continue to deliver on our promises.
Even if the pandemic is still impacting many aspects of our lives the logistics industry has adjusted to the new circumstances. We therefore have adapted the frequency of our Covid-19 page and will publish updates only when relevant news or insights become available.
Our focus continues to be on protecting the health and safety of our employees and ensuring our customers’ operations run as smoothly as possible during this difficult period. We provide our colleagues in sales and operations with in-depth information on a regular basis so that they can support our customers with the most up-to-date and relevant advice.
We will continue to update you as the situation evolves. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your local Kuehne+Nagel representative if you need more information.
Our employees and preventive health measures
The health and safety of our customers and employees remain our top priority. All Kuehne + Nagel offices have implemented actions according to recommendations from the World Health Organisation.
As regions differ in levels of spread and consequences of COVID-19, , we adapt our business continuity measures accordingly. The Kuehne+Nagel commitment to operating under COVID-19 circumstances include responsibility on management side to have sites enabling social distance, staggered work schedules, safe commuting, frequent disinfection, cleaning procedures and more.
Our staff are successfully working from home where deemed necessary by local circumstances.
In regards to risk of virus on packages and pallets we receive and deliver, we deem the risk low, following WHO statement of "The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low."
Business Continuity Program
As a global logistics company, we are facing supply chain disruptions on a regular basis. We adapt continuously our global standards of business continuity management and test our Business Continuity Plans addressing different crisis scenarios.
They are designed to protect the safety and wellbeing of our employees and to ensure an uninterrupted service for our customers. In respect of the magnitude of the COVID-19 effect, we are executing new and continuous risk assessments, business impact analysis and implementing new measures into our business continuity framework based on alert levels.
The learnings from the activation of BCPs in China at the beginning of the crisis have helped us to make changes and improvements in all our BCPs around the world. All countries have established national response teams in order to either prepare for, or execute activation of these plans.
Where deemed appropriate by our national management teams and where required by governmental decrees, we activate preventive measures and processes, which include temperature control of employees and visitors (within the parameters set by locally applicable laws such as data protection laws), self-declarations, segregated/flexi work arrangements, options to work from home, the sanitisation of our offices and sites, and the provision of essential hygiene products at workplaces. Standard processes have also been defined in case of staff being infected or exposed to people who are infected.
We are sharing hygienic guidelines with our suppliers to ensure greater awareness within the supply chain. Drivers arriving for collection or delivery undergo a briefing on hygienic best practices, and where permissible, are instructed to fill out self-declarations.
We have implemented global travel restrictions and external and internal meetings are either conducted as video conferences, or only in the presence of a small number of participants observing social distancing recommendations as issued by public health authorities.
General situation in our regions
With ongoing COVID-19 related government regulations for travel and other challenges present, our focus in caring for our customers business has remained a primary focus and our logistics operations remain fully operational throughout Canada, the United States and Mexico. Protective measures are implemented within each of our North American warehouse and office locations ensuring the safety and health of our employees, contractors and business partners. As new challenges may arise, our team is also prepared with alternate solutions to keep business in motion.
South and Central America
We remain focused on taking care of our business and customers and our logistics operations remain fully operational throughout the region. In general, the ports are operational, but delays may occur in the terminals due to reduced staff, reduced attention hours and local quarantine measures. We see medium impacts on equipment availability – especially reefer containers. Brazil is still in partial quarantine, coming back in different steps according to the governments definitions. In the Andean region, the road logistics is also normal with restrictions in some areas with focused immobilization.
Overall the number of confirmed cases in Europe has slightly increased since July. Most countries show a positive trend, whereas in others governments defined severe measures to contain the spreading.
All Kuehne+Nagel sites established hygienic and social distancing rules to protect employees and business partners entering our facilities. Risk assessments are carried out on an ongoing basis and best practices are successfully shared and implemented within the organisation. A significant number of customers expressed their gratitude for the excellent service level offered despite the crisis situation and disruption of infrastructure in given markets.
With the re-opening of economy, there is resurgence of COVID-19 cases reported in some countries. Ongoing reinforcement of strict measures are re-introduced by different governments. We continue to remain vigilant on the situation and adjust our work arrangement accordingly without impact to business continuity. A calibrated and slow approach is planned for the return of employees to the workplace given the continuing volatile situation. At workplace, safe distance measures and other ongoing preventive measures are implemented to ensure a safe working environment.
Middle East and Africa
In varying degree, our colleagues are returning to the offices and/or warehouses under strict new procedures based on local risk assessments, capabilities and governmental advice. Countries are fully operational, with some delays and alternative procedures due to governmental restrictions.
Impact on Sea Logistics
The situation in each country is evolving daily as the authorities extend or relax restrictions.
In general, the situation has become more stable and predictable, and worldwide the effects of COVID-19 are decreasing from week to week. Equipment availability, available space, and blanked vessel sailings remain to have an impact on the overall situation.
Our local experts are at your full disposal to assist and support you with your specific requirements.
Our sea logistics operations in the US and Canada are fully functional with no impact from COVID-19. The main CFS gateways in US are operating normally. Port congestion and inland transport challenges result from the current strong American market demand and the overall tense situation on the sea freight market.
Mexico still extends the lockdown, which affects inland connections from the ports.
Central and South America
There are currently no major restrictions on sea logistics operations due to COVID-19. The offices are still handling business, but with reduced staff or in home office mode. The ports are operational, but delays may occur in the terminals due to reduced staff, reduced attention hours and local quarantine measures. We see medium-high impacts on equipment availability - especially reefer containers.
In Brazil, operations are running with only minor limitations.
Argentina and Uruguay extended current international travel restrictions and domestic preventative measures. Borders are closed for travel, but international cargo, medical and humanitarian transport are exempt. Truck drivers and vessel crews may be subject to enhanced screening measures. Vessel operations are normal.
Bolivia and Peru suspended most COVID-19 restrictions. Still, delivery from ports is impacted as bordering countries have maintained closure of their land borders.
In Chile ports are in operation, but there is some congestion.
Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama report normal operations.
The ongoing after-effects of recent major events, such as the closure of the Suez Canal and South and East China ports, continue to strain the supply chain in addition to the impact of COVID-19.
South China: Due to a combination of recent increasingly severe delays in vessel schedules and a number of new COVID-19 cases in the Yantian region recently, there are stricter inspection and testing measures in place at the facility. In combination with the continuing high capacity utilisation, this is already having a strong impact on the efficiency of terminal operations. As a result of cargo diversion, there is additional demand at the other POLs leading to operational challenges.
Malaysia: The nationwide lockdown in Malaysia is leading to a reduction in production capacity, resulting in a backlog of orders. Affected sectors include electronics, semiconductors and medical devices. Labour shortages and operational challenges are expected to cause supply chain disruptions.
Vietnam: Faced with the worst outbreak of COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began, strict lockdowns have been imposed and subsequently production has been restricted in factories in Southern Vietnam. Sea terminals are not sufficiently equipped to export goods. The restrictions, which were supposed to end on 2 August, have been extended for another two weeks. Supply chain delays will continue and port productivity is expected to deteriorate due to reduced port staffing. Terminal Congestion at the port is getting worse, resulting an average of 3 to 5 days waiting for vessel berthing. Congestion at the ports is also caused by delays in the release of import shipments because factories are closed to receive them. As the container yards of the Ho Chi Minh area are full, the Port of Cat Lai restricts the import/export of containers and shifts cargoes to other ports. There is also a shortage of 40'HC equipment throughout southern Vietnam.
Japan: The number of infection cases in the Tokyo area continues to rise and the state of emergency remains in force until 24 August.
Bangladesh: The nationwide strict lockdown has been extended until 10 August as the number of COVID-19 infections in the country increases. Ships in Chittagong are experiencing significant berthing delays of between 5 and 10 days.
There are currently no major restrictions on operations due to the Coronavirus. However, the continuing high demand across the globe as well as ongoing equipment imbalances and restructuring measures of carriers lead to congestions in all major European ports and thus in substantially increased lead times.
Middle East and Africa
In Egypt, the economy is 100% open. There is a shortage of equipment and space in Egypt due to the previous disruption of supply chains by COVID-19 in combination with the Suez Canal incident, in addition to the empty sailings from Asia. Some shipping companies are still working split shifts.
In Turkey, economic activities continue undisturbed and there are only minor operational problems that do not negatively affect overall performance. Nevertheless, the following issues need to be considered and normalcy should be seen as the "new normal": Equipment and space problems have improved but are still the main factors for the bottlenecks that have occurred. Therefore, all parties involved (ports, customs, freight forwarders, customers and Kuehne+Nagel) continue to work under "new normal" conditions.
South Africa issued lockdown Level 3. Most notable businesses impacted by the lockdown are the restaurant and alcohol industry. Port operations are severely impacted. Kuehne+Nagel employees are working from home and 100% operational. Our warehouse facilities have to work on skeleton staff.
The ports in U.A.E are operating normally and do not face congestion or delays. Restrictions on domestic road freight have been lifted, except for light vehicles to and from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. A Covid-19 test is required to enter the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Independent of COVID-19, volumes are picking up. Equipment shortages and booking confirmation delays are expected to continue for the coming month.
Impact on Air Logistics
During this uncertain time a tailored approach to your needs and supply chain challenges remain the most critical tool. Thanks to close interaction with customers, our Air Logistics Customer Care teams can quickly evaluate supply chain challenges and develop models to react to the market’s constant changes. Our offices and teams are up and running globally, and here to solve your supply chain needs.
Choose your region of interest below for a more detailed overview of the impact on air freight capacity, operational status and current congestions.
As the pandemic continues, vaccines have been rolled out, and travel corridors are slowly re-opening, the outlook remains uncertain. Sea congestion at ports, especially at the US West Coats, remain a big challenge and delays continue to drive additional cargo into the air freight market, which has seen record growth.
With the US allowing vaccinated foreign nationals to travel again, the industry has seen an uptick in passenger flights that are planned to be introduced into the market. Despite the announcement of increased routes and flight frequencies, belly capacity is still forecasted to fall short of pre-pandemic levels, especially in those lanes with the heaviest demand like the Transpacific therefore continuing the trend of higher than pre-pandemic market and activities.
Recent COVID-19 incidents, labor shortages across the region, energy prices rising around the world leave the current market with continued volatility even while we get the positive news on the reopening to international passenger travel. Our offices and teams are up and running, ready to support you.
South and Central America
The frequency of international passenger flights are starting to recover with the lift of some international travel bans (i.e. Europe & North America) and the vaccinations programs across the region. The freighters are offsetting some of the capacity leveraging the perishable peak season until end of the year. Countries are fully operational with our Air Logistics team working in a hybrid or home office mode.
As the virus continues to surge, our air freight operations in Europe are running stable. The demand for air freight on all major trade lanes (North America, South America, South Africa, Asia, China) is extraordinary high. Capacity remains constraint due to the year-end peak season even though pax flights are returning on some markets. The challenging situation in Sea Logistics continues to put additional pressure on the tight capacity situation as companies across all verticals are shifting from sea freight to air freight to fulfill the needs of their customers. In order to further mitigate supply-chain risks on mission-critical markets, we have expanded and stabilized the air freight product portfolio with a reliable capacity to serve you in time.
Middle East and Africa
The operational situation in Middle East and Africa remains stable and sound without any interruptions, and countries adapt seamlessly to any Covid-19 related impact. Most countries have been back at office for the past months, at capacity levels in accordance with local regulations. As countries in MEA are re-opening for travel, carriers are re-instancing and increasing frequencies. QR and EK are re-converting PAX freighters back into PAX to meet demand. Both Africa and Middle East recorded a double digit growth in flight frequencies but still below 2019 levels. Cargo capacity shortage continues to maintain the momentum of 2020 levels and higher due to lack of capacity -14% compared to 2019.
With the new Covid-19 outbreak in Mainland China, the government continues to take drastic measures at the airports to curb further spread of the disease. Flights are slowly recovering, however, still far from normal status which affects inbound and outbound capacity.
Pressure on capacity caused by limited passenger flight activity is seen in the majority of South Asia Pacific countries. Some countries face ongoing cases of COVID-19, which has led to further restrictions and partial lockdowns.
Impact on Road Logistics
We take this opportunity to thank our drivers, who are tirelessly collecting and delivering shipments under challenging conditions. We also extend our thanks to our customers and recipients of shipments who allow our drivers access to their restrooms. We truly appreciate those who go out of their way to help our drivers do a great job. By all of us working together and showing respect to each other, we jointly contribute to keeping our supply chains afloat.
Like European overland markets, the Kuehne+Nagel network is facing less restrictions compared to the spring period last year. The development on an overall European scale however is still rather volatile and impacted by still existing Covid19 limitations in certain areas. This can lead to some partial reroutings and small delays in selected lanes. The current expectations for the next weeks force us to keep the following pre-conditions in place until further notice.
For any country in Europe, we still strongly ask shippers to check the availability and readiness of their customers to receive shipments during business hours, before handing shipments over to us. Shipments which cannot be delivered due to absent consignees will be returned to shippers at their cost. In case shippers are not able to receive these returned shipments, storage cost will apply.
In case of pick-up orders customers also need to ensure readiness of their pick-up addresses. If this is not given, cost of the pick-up attempts will be charged.
Further customers need to ensure that consignee’s will confirm receipt of cargo.
Trucking services in China are back to normal. Cross-border trucking to and from Hong Kong (SAR, China) and the China/Vietnam border (Pingxiang border) is operating as per normal. Additionally, operation at the Vietnam and Laos/Cambodia border as well as domestic transportation within Vietnam are also back to normal.
For Thailand, domestic and cross-border movement for commercial and essential goods between Thailand and Myanmar/Laos/Cambodia is allowed. All drivers need to undergo health checks
For cross-border trucking to Central Asian countries and Europe, there is heavy congestion at China/Kazakhstan border (Horgos and Alashankou borders) due to the preventative control measures for COVID-19.
Similarly, trucking to Europe via the China/Russia route (Manzhouli border) is also experiencing the same issue due to the increased control measures implemented.
The Malaysian government has announced nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) starting May 12, 2021, till June 7, 2021. Movement of goods in and out of the country must adhere to the RMCO MCO standard operating procedure. We do not see any impact on domestic and cross border transportation.
Many Indian states have imposed strict lockdowns while other states have announced restrictions on public movement. This has no impact on domestic transportation.
The situation and border control measures in most of these countries are evolving rapidly as the COVID-19 situation continues to change. We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide further updates on this page.
US, Canada and Mexico border restrictions only impact "non-essential" travel and do not apply to the transportation of goods and services. Stay-at-home orders around the country are being lifted in some states and extended in others, however these measures are not directed at commercial truck traffic. Check with individual partners on their operation status prior to shipping because nearly all LTL carriers will be returning freight immediately (<1 day) after a refusal due to a closed consignee. Cargo cannot be held at the destination due to large volumes of undeliverable freight resulting in additional charges.
US domestic truckload capacity is tightening, but federal and state governments are committed to keeping the supply chain moving. The majority of LTL and Small package carriers will suspend physical signatures. In adherence to the “Social Distancing” policy, drivers will not be obtaining signatures from consignees. Drivers will record the exact time, note any exceptions and obtain the name of the person who is accepting the freight. As spot market truckload rates rise to highly affected areas, less drivers are willing to take loads into these areas forcing the ad hoc rates to climb. Urgent orders of retail goods drive rates up for van and reefer equipment. Retailers, including e-commerce outlets, rely increasingly on spot market providers to re-stock shelves immediately, while truckers report long wait times at pickup and delivery points.
Alternative solutions for shipments
We remain committed to serving our valued customers. Besides working closely with carrier partners to provide solutions for urgent shipments, we have also activated alternative transport modes and route solutions to support your business needs.
Working closely with our key airline partners, our Air Logistics experts maintain regular space allocations on major Asian and Translantantic routes and have established additional weekly charter rotations to service both markets for urgent supply needs. A weekly fixed operating schedule and new charter movements on high demand trade lanes will help to avoid production and supply chain delays, and ensure the continuation of your operations caused by present and future implications of the „Coronavirus“ outbreak.
The impact of COVID-19 poses particular challenges for critical logistics needs in the healthcare, aviation or manufacturing industries. To expedite your deliveries, resolve transport delays and ensure the continuation of supply chain flows, Quick/Sterling, a Kuehne+Nagel company, is dedicated to offer you the time-critical solutions you need. Despite global travel restrictions, countries` lockdowns and existing capacity constraints, our expert teams are committed to support you. Do you have an urgent shipment? Contact our experts in time-critical logistics.
Kuehne + Nagel Sea-Air product, a combination of sea freight and air freight transport modes, helps to reduce costs, expedite your deliveries and ease capacity constraints whenever possible. We are operating several state-of-the-art Air freight hubs around the world to serve a large number of destinations by Sea-Air or Air-Sea in Asia, Europe and the America.
We offer KN Pledge for full sea container transport. It includes a guaranteed lead-time for your shipments with a money-back guarantee.
Customers can review in real-time, all available services, including regular service updates via our digital platform, seaexplorer. Seaexplorer enables customers to search for appropriate alternative service options in case of service disruptions.
Our KN LCL expedited service offers you an alternative for imports from Asia or Europe to the United States or vice versa with a faster transit time than regular LCL services: Using a direct route from the port of discharge to the customer location, which skips the inland CFS location, the Expedited Service is up to 6 days faster. For further information please contact your local Kuehne+Nagel office.
eShipAsia – our latest online logistics platform enables Intra-Asia shippers to optimise shipment based on the route, transit time and cost instantly. Its instant and competitive quotations provide full transparency on all applicable surcharges, meanwhile its advanced online track and trace features allow users to stay informed on their shipment status anytime, anywhere.
We have introduced the priority service "Reefer-Go" for time critical pharma and healthcare consignments that need to be loaded in south and central European ports according to a defined schedule. For further information, please contact your local Kuehne+Nagel reefer or pharma sea logistics team.
With short transit times and low freight costs our door-to-door rail service KN Eurasia Express provides you an optimal alternative transport mode for connections between China, Russia and Europe. Kuehne+Nagel works closely with all railway companies to ensure you maximum flexibility. Weekly departures are guaranteed from major terminals in China, such as Wuhan, Chengdu, Xi’an, Suzhou and Zhengzhou to destinations across Russia, Europe and vice versa.
Even though most borders in all affected countries are open for transport of goods, all shipments need special attention regarding export and import documentation.
Our customs clearance services are available and fully operational in all major regions. Customs authorities in all major regions are fully operational as well, although some ports may have delays due to reduced staffing potentially affecting inspections and other manual clearance processes.
Please see the following country specific customs websites for status updates. The situation remains fluid given the circumstances. We recommend that you regularly check for changes:
Please reach out to your Kuehne+Nagel representative for further guidance.
DISCLAIMER - All information is provided in good faith for guidance and reference purposes only. It is of a general informational nature, and Kuehne+Nagel takes no legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided via this document. Kuehne+Nagel makes no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of any of the information contained herein and accepts no liability for any loss arising from the use of the information provided.