Asset Publisher

Updates on Coronavirus

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 18, 2021: Updates in all sections of "Impact on Air Logistics".


General information

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."

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.

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.

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. 

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, all 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.

China: The Meishan terminal at Ningbo Port, which was closed due to COVID-19, resumed operations on the morning of 25 August after 14 days of closure. It is expected to take a considerable time to clear the congestion as the other terminals in Ningbo and surrounding ports are fully loaded and many vessels are waiting to be docked.

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: The strict restriction measures, which equate to a social lockdown, have been extended until 15 September. The long-term lockdown, which began at the end of July last year, has reduced factory productivity by 50-70%. The disruption in product supply and demand for global footwear brands has become evident, but it is difficult to change the source of sourcing immediately. It is therefore expected that the supply disruption will continue for the time being.  

Bangladesh: 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. 

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.

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.

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 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.

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.