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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.

January 5, 2021, 3pm (CET):

Updates in "Impact on Road Logistics Asia Pacific and Road Logistics Europe".

After nine months, 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.

General information

The health and safety of our customers and employees remains our top priority. All Kuehne+Nagel offices have implemented actions according to recommendations from the World Health Organisation.

As regions differ in levels of locking down more or starting to open up, we are adapting our business continuity measures accordingly. The Kuehne+Nagel commitment to operating under COVID-19 circumstances include responsibility on management side to adapt sites enabling social distance, staggered work schedules, safe commuting, frequent disinfection, cleaning procedures and more. 

Currently, the majority of our office staff is successfully working from home.

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.

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.

Several governments in South and Central America have declared “state of emergency” and most countries are with borders partially or completely closed. Others have enacted national quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus by forcing the closure of our locations, but they continue operating remotely. In Brazil, some states are taking the necessary steps to reopen business. Despite the challenging environment, operations continue to function.

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.  

We see an ease of the strict restrictions in some countries. A calibrated and slow approach is planned for the return of employees to the workplace. Safe distance measures and other ongoing preventive measures are implemented to ensure a safe working environment. We continue to remain vigilant on the situation and adjust our work arrangement accordingly.   

As the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, state and local authorities in the Middle East and Africa countries have called for more stringent steps to be taken for local governments and businesses. As a result, we have activated further control measures in our business continuity plans. Despite the challenging environment, all operations continue to function. 

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 are fully functional with minimal impact from having to work remotely. The main CFS gateways in US are operating normally but with reduced hours. Due to decreases in vessel operations some ports or terminals have reduced operating days or hours. However, cargo is still flowing into/in US and Canada. 

There are currently no major restrictions on sea logistics operations. 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 impacts on equipment availability - especially reefer containers.

In Brazil, operations are running with only minor limitations.

Argentina plans to gradually lift the lockdown in Buenos Aires and some other parts of the country. Vessel operations are normal. The cargo-gate-process is normal with delays. The ports, customs and CFS work with limited staff.

Bolivia and Peru also instructed general quarantine, but resume everyday operations gradually. Still, delivery from ports is impacted, but the transport operations are regular. Transport operations also resumed on the Amazon River. In Chile, the government presented a five-steps plan to gradually relax lockdown restrictions in 12 regions in the country. Sea logistics operations are not affected. All ports are in operation, but there is some congestion - especially in the Port of Valparaiso and the Port of San Antonio.

Terminal, depot and CFS operations in China are back to normal. The arrival of large bulk carriers in China has returned to normal. 

Most regions in India are still imposing or extending lockdowns. All non-essential manufacturing, government and private business premises in the countries are still not operating - though the agricultural sector and other essential industries have been given special permission to open.

In Bangladesh, restrictions are set to be eased. Ports in Bangladesh are operational, but with reduced capacity and facing severe port congestion issues. Similarly in Japan, ports are facing slight congestion. 

Malaysia enters into a Recovery Movement Control Order phase. All manufacturers have resumed production while adhering to guidelines and SOPs of local authorities. Still, all essential services, such as ports and transportation companies, continue to run, but with limited operations. 

In Thailand cluster, sea ports and terminals are working as normal. Customs release is allowed in Myanmar and an increasing number of factories are allowed to operate again.

In Australia, operations are normal and vessels are sailing as scheduled. Some delays are expected at Melbourne port given a second wave of Covid-19 in VIC.

In the other countries we see "business as usual" from a ports and carrier perspective. Operations are less impacted from process delays including customs and trucking as countries eased restrictions. However, space and equipment continue to be put under pressure due to effects of massive blank sailings implemented by shipping lines.  

Carriers continue to blank sailings by taking out up to 50% capacity on Asian as well as North American trade lanes to balance supply and demand. Few ports, e.g. Genoa, La Spezia and Livorno, still report slower gate in and out procedures due to reduced working hours to comply with COVID-19 preventive measures.

However, the situation in some European countries is beginning to stabilise and governments start to ease the strict lockdown measures that have been in place to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus. Production is slowly resuming and car manufacturers across Europe have begun to reopen their factories.

Ports and terminals are operational with delays due to carriers and customs shorter working hours, preventive measures and reduced capacity. Reefer plugs become short as reefer containers keep stocking up. Ports, CFS and cargo vessels are still operating, but with precautionary measures. There is a decrease of volumes visible at all port terminals. 

Turkey is facing impacts on imports and exports. Here, vessel sailings, equipment availability and carrier operations are only slightly effected. Saudi Arabia lifted its nationwide curfew, but says other restrictions will remain. Economic and commercial activities resume. Ports, CFSs and customs are still working with limited opening hours.

In Kenya, port operations are affected by social distancing regulations. However, import and export operations are not affected. In Angola, vessels are cleared remotely in most ports. In South Africa, commercial ports previously closed have reopened, but terminals/ports still operate at reduced capacity.

Impact on Air Logistics

After the passenger travel restrictions between Europe and the United States had been put in place in March 2020, the majority of airlines announced a drastic reduction of passenger flights offering limited capacity at market rates. Since the trade lane between Europe and North America is largely dominated by passenger aircraft, we have been experiencing a severe drop in the available capacity. In reaction to the evolved constraints caused by cuts in belly capacity, we have seen an increase in freighter capacity. 

On August 6, 2020, the US State Department lifted the Global Level 4 Health Advisory, returning to the previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice. However, with most nations across the world still having restrictions on the entry of travelers from the US, this change currently has a minor impact. 

To contain further coronavirus disease outbreak, restriction on non-essential activities are still in place in almost all of the US states and between the United States and its Northern (Canadian) and Southern (Mexican) borders. Additionally, from May 29, the US Government has suspended travel from Brazil for foreign nationals. These measures do not apply to trade flows, and all our branches continue to operate with reduced staff or in home office mode.

The situation in the region remains critical, with the majority of the countries maintaining quarantine and/or curfew. Following border closures and lockdowns of some South American countries and the subsequent drop in travel demand, carriers reduced their international operations, leading to limited available capacity in the market also in this region. The national carriers LATAM Airlines and Avianca, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection without any operational consequences during the time of restructuring. The overall operational status of airports, truckers and customs is stable, and all our Air Logistics branches keep operating.

Our airfreight operations in Europe continue running smoothly. We still experience some capacity constraints to major markets as the majority of flag carriers have not yet restarted their global network. Due the decreasing amount of incoming Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shipments, major transshipment airports like Frankfurt and Luxembourg are no longer congested.  Freighter capacity has reached the maximum and carriers are now offering additional belly capacity on congested lanes. 

Capacity constraints are also seen in the Middle East and Africa region with all airlines having suspended/reduced their passenger flights on the routings into the region. National carriers Etihad Airways and Emirates suspended several passenger flights as per the UAE government’s directive, however, selected passenger flights to fifty destinations are back on schedule from July 2020. Cargo flights are exempt from this suspension and will continue to over a hundred of cargo destinations. Our operations continue running with teams working from home/operating in split setups in all countries, including countries that have imposed countrywide lockdowns.

The overall situation with regard to the operational status of airports, truckers and customs clearance in China has returned to normal levels. Since July, the demand for PPE has reduced by 85% compared to May (Kuehne+Nagel). 

To support the global pandemic situation more effectively and ensure the orderly export of quality medical supplies, the Chinese government has a strong focus on quality check for non-medical face masks and medical supplies by requesting documentation and customs inspection on site. The inspection rate by the Chinese customs is still higher than normal levels; however, the inspection time doesn’t cause any delay. 

Following the growing number of new infection cases in Hong Kong, The Civil Aviation Department and the Department of Health require the airline crew to take a mandatory Covid-19 test upon arrival (10 - 12 hours wait) and a 14- days government quarantine if any crew members have been found positive. This measure has affected carrier operations, with many carriers having cancelled the flights, which results in a limited capacity. As of the last week of July, 95% of Kuehne+Nagel Hong Kong staff works from home till further notice.

Since Beijing city COVID-19 risk level has downgraded to level 3, customs authorities now carry out COVID-19 test for random inspection of perishable/cool chain food/bulk food shipments. Furthermore, the disinfection before and after ULD breakdown is still retaining. These additional measures result in slight delays

Pressure on capacity caused by limited passenger flight activity is seen in the majority of South Asia Pacific countries. Some countries face increased cases of COVID-19, which has led to further restrictions and partial lockdowns.Complete lockdown in India  has a direct impact on customs and terminal operations, trucking, and available capacity since all international passenger flights are suspended until August 31. 

The majority of carriers still retain significant cuts in their passenger networks. In order to compensate for the shortage of lift on the main trade lanes, freighter capacity has significantly increased. We see that urgent air cargo demand for PPE has declined, the trend reflected by the reduction of the dedicated for the PPE passenger freighters. Therefore, we expect there will still be a significant imbalance of demand and available capacity in the market. 

We are working closely with our long-term carrier partners to have full transparency of the situation to address the needs and requirements of our customers. At this point, we can no longer assure lead times at their applicable rates. To the extent available, charter space will be offered at current market rates. 

Our Air Logistics teams are fully informed about the latest development of the situation, and we encourage you to reach out to your respective Kuehne+Nagel contact person for any further questions and any specific requirements regarding your airfreight shipments. 

IATA's Airlines Cargo Operations Status page offers daily updated operational overview collected directly from IATA carrier members.

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 previous months. The development on an overall European scale however is rather volatile between above average volume growth because of recovery from previous weeks, upcoming summer holidays break and impact 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. 

Overall, trucking services in China continue to recover. The cross-border trucking to and from Hong Kong (SAR, China) remains operational despite escalated health safety measures came into effect on July 23. It is mandatory for drivers to hold negative Nucleic acid testing results, with validity of within 72 hours.  

The congestion situation at the China/Vietnam border (Pingxiang border) has eased out. Operation at Vietnam and Laos/Cambodia border is getting to normal.

For Thailand, domestic and cross-border movement for commercial and essential goods between Thailand and Myanmar/Laos/Cambodia is allowed. 

For cross-border trucking to Central Asian countries, congestion appeared at China/Kazakhstan border (Horgos border due to the escalation of health safety measures. 

Similarly, trucking to Europe via the China/Russia route (Manzhouli border) faces slight congestion due to the increased health safety measures at the border. 

As of June 10, the Malaysian government has implemented a Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) until August 31. Movement of goods in and out of the country must adhere to the RMCO standard operating procedure.

The Indian Government has extended limited lockdown in some of the cities states and cities until August 31. Transportation of goods is allowed, except for the containment zones listed by the Government.

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.

Time-Critical Solutions

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 severe capacity constraints on all trade lanes, our expert teams are committed to support you. Do you have an urgent shipment? Contact our experts in time-critical logistics.

Sea-Air Product

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.

Air-Air service

When flight options become scarce, you might wish to stay in the air: With our air-air solution, your cargo flies to Dubai from where it will go up in the air again to reach its final destination. As one of the largest gateways and consolidation hubs, Dubai is the answer to the rising transportation demand while flight availability is still limited. Once the shipment arrives in Dubai, the Kuehne + Nagel air logistics team manages the inbound handling and the on-forwarding to the final destination. Supported by a network of carriers and partners, our team can find the best connection to keep your cargo flying. Reach out to us for your air-air connection:

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.

Customs Clearance

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: 

Check here for Europe, here for UK, here for USA, here for Canada and here for Mexico. 

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.