COVID-19 latest updates

May 19, 2020

Read here operations and carrier updates regarding the COVID-19 impacts. Today's updates are highlighted. For any questions or comments, please contact us.

Ocean Operations

Final Rule on Demurrage and Detention of Shipping Containers Welcomed by Freight Community

US – International freight forwarding association FIATA has welcomed the US Federal Maritime Commission's (FMC) new landmark guidance on its approach to assessing the reasonableness of detention and demurrage regulations and practices of ocean carriers and marine terminal operators, a bone of contention which the Association raised last month concerning a global problem for its members.

Demurrage and detention charges can play an essential role in the efficient movement of container stock; however, FIATA says unjust practices in recent years have spurred concerns regarding their reasonableness in achieving their intended purposes, particularly in the circumstances outside of the freight forwarder's control. Put bluntly; the forwarders see the charges as an unwarranted profit center for the ports.

On 28 April 2020, the Final Rule, Docket No. 19-05 Interpretive Rule on Demurrage and Detention under the Shipping Act considers the extent to which detention and demurrage charges and policies serve their primary purpose of incentivizing the movement of cargo and promoting freight fluidity, and is intended to reflect three main principles:

  • Importers, exporters, intermediaries, and truckers should not be penalized by demurrage and detention practices when circumstances are such that they cannot retrieve containers from or return containers to marine terminals because, under those circumstances, the charges cannot serve their incentive function.
  • Importers should be notified when their cargo is available for retrieval.
  • Demurrage and detention policies should be accessible, transparent, and, to the extent possible, use consistent terminology.

The Final Rule also comprises guidance as to (1) the adoption of a policy regarding demurrage and detention practices and government inspections; and (2) clarification that the rule does not preclude the Commission from considering additional factors outside those specifically listed, including extenuating circumstances. Dr. Stéphane Graber, FIATA Director General, commented: "This is a welcome decision for the freight forwarding community, providing certainty on the need for detention and demurrage practices to be reasonable and in line with the purposes they serve. In the context of the unprecedented difficulties faced due to Covid-19, this timely support the continued functioning of the supply chain."

Middle East/India Sub/Africa:

  • IndiaAll ports are operational with limited laborers and staff; there are little movements to and from the port. EU and US services have announced blank sailings. Ocean carriers are placed quite well in terms of WFH, imports DO, and BL release is managed for those who are online and continuing. Import/export movement to and from ICDs are all opening up slowly; however, due to slowdown in volume, railway rakes movement is delayed by a week or so.
  • Bangladesh - Vessels are allowed to berth after 16 days instead of 14 days from the date of sailing from any Chinese Port. Moving containers on or off dock became difficult due to occupancy. Import containers are waiting 25-26 days for railway wagon. Bangladesh is also looking at shifting more boxes from congested Chittagong port.
  • Kuwait - Container terminals are operating with regular hours.
    • All marine agencies are required to provide a copy of their logbook for the past 30 working days. 
    • Kuwait and Saudi borders are restricted to move essential commodities such as food and medical supplies only. Border authorities in KSA are recommending other products to move by Sea or Air.
    • Borders of Maritime placed restrictions or are closed for entry of vessels that visited the most affected countries.

United States:

  • Due to the number of blank sailings and idled containerships, Port of Virginia closed the port's Portsmouth Marine Terminal starting May 4, 2020. Cargo volumes will be consolidated to other terminals.
  • Some carriers are offering storage at transshipment ports to avoid demurrage fees, also to slow down import at congested ports where importers are unable to pick up their containers.
  • Carriers are answering shipper calls to slow down the import of containers that are filled with consumer goods that cannot be sold with non-essential retailers shuttered amid the pandemic lockdown.
  • Ocean carriers are willing to make special arrangements for demurrage and detention in case of final closure, any restrictions, or changes of the earliest return date for export. Any third party expense such as chassis, storage fees, etc. is not covered by ocean carrier.
  • US Terminals slow down operations as imports fall away. While some terminals are working regular hours, others are operating under reduced hours or closed 1-2 days during the week. 
  • Equipment availability remains challenging, especially in some inland locations.
  • Due to low import volume, exporters have been dealing with scarcity of empty containers for weeks.
  • GRI from the U.S. to Asia, Oceania, Middle East, India Sub are expected to apply by the end of May.
  • Space and equipment availability is an issue. Advanced bookings are recommended for all trade lanes.
  • Free time requests have become restricted globally. Existing open times are being honored so far.
  • Ocean carriers are asking all customers to use their available online tools when possible before contacting them via phone or email. The request includes online payments as well. Ports accept no physical documents. 
  • Ocean carriers are requesting that all disputes are submitted within five days or as soon as possible. 

Asia/Oceania:

  • Australian ports require any inbound vessel to travel at a minimum of 14 days. Maritime Safety Queensland has eased its entry restrictions to allow all ships to call the port of Brisbane except those from China and South Korea.
  • Space remains tight as ocean carriers announce additional void sailings.
  • Blank sailings are expected to stay for the foreseeable future.
  • Current blank sailing announcements from ocean carriers are confirming 87 blank sailings from Asia to North America between weeks 19 and 29 and 21 blank Sailings from Asia to Europe between weeks 19 and 28.
  • Advanced bookings are recommended for all trade lanes. Carriers are restricting acceptance of advanced bookings to 6 weeks.

Canada:

  • Ports and offices are working regular hours.
  • Equipment availability is not a concern at this time.
  • Drayage and trucking operations are running smoothly.

Europe:

  • K-Line drops forecast due to continuing uncertainty - Damage control to its finances is top of the list going forward, says the Japanese shipping giant, despite a profitable fiscal year in 2019. The company has dropped its forecast for the 2020 financial year as the extent of the coronavirus impact remains unclear (Lloyds List May 12).
  • Switch of Westbound Sea Freight Container Services Provides an Opportunity for Silk Road Service - As ocean carriers avoid Suez so rail freight consolidation can Benefit with shorter transit times over land. (Handy Shipping Guide, May 12).
  • Survey of World Ports Reveals Europe Worst Hit by COVID-19. It appears the crisis brought about by the pandemic is hitting European ports harder than those overseas according to the fifth report prepared and released by the WPSP-IAPH World Ports COVID-19 Task Force. The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) and the World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP) say that the impact of reduced calls by shipping has led to a progressive overall decline in utilization being reported.
  • Blanked sailings may include about to reach its peak, according to Danish consultancy firm Sea-Intelligence. Recorded blanked sailings as a result of the coronavirus pandemic now stand at 456, of which 342 were on the main deepsea trade lanes. "For the Asia-Europe and transpacific trades alone, the amount of removed weekly carrying capacity increased from 3.1m TEU last week, to 3.4m TEU this week," Sea-Intelligence said. "Compared with the typical downturn during Chinese New Year, this implies a potential global loss of volume of 7.4m TEU in 2020." Data from Sea-Intelligence shows that the Asia-North Europe trade lane reached 38% of canceled capacity last week. The consultancy anticipates the other deep-sea trades will also reach peak impact with, for example, the Mediterranean to North America East Coast having 33% blank capacity in week 19 and Asia to East Coast South America seeing a staggering 59% capacity removal in week 20.
  • For Asia-North Europe, the canceled capacity is expected to be more than 35%, while for both Asia-Mediterranean and Asia-East Coast South America, the canceled total exceeds 30%.
  • Container lines face growing pressure to suspend low sulfur surcharges and drastically cut other fuel charges levied on shippers as the crash in oil prices dramatically reduces the cost of bunker fuels. Lines pass on the value of fuel to customers via Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF) fees and various Low Sulphur Surcharges (LSS) using complex methodologies, which typically means there is a lengthy lag between changes in the fuel price being reflected in revised surcharges for customers.
  • Reports of ports suffering congestion as consignees and their forwarders were unable or unwilling to collect imports were today backed up by new data showing higher utilization of storage areas and warehouses.
  • Limited capacity and lack of equipment (special in particular: 2 weeks delay from booking to pick up day) is still an issue, blank sailings from FE are not giving an excellent contribution to solve this problem.
  • Ports, terminal, depots, rail services, trucking services are almost fully functioning.
  • More container service cancellations likely as another wave of cuts in deployed capacity and further reduced frequency of maritime container services are expected in the coming weeks due to the coronavirus, resulting in about 27% of supply being removed from the Asia-Europe trade alone.
  • Blanked sailings are expected to increase for specific trade lanes. Carriers are rapidly reducing head haul capacity from the Asia Pacific. These increases can create a risk of a shortage of equipment being imported for backhaul volumes.
  • Space and equipment shortages are being reported in all locations.
  • A rate increase was announced for export to North America and Mexico.
  • All ports remain operational. There is no report of any port closure at the moment.
  • Trucking shortages are being reported in and out of affected countries.

Latin America:

  • Panama Canal Authority seeks dialogue with cargo owners. Cash-strapped shipowners should not expect a reduction in tolls to transit the Panama Canal as that is a lengthy process requiring political approval. Still, other measures have been introduced to the reservation system that should bring some financial breathing space for the waterway's customer. (Lloyds List, May 8)
  • Increased pressures reported in several terminals in Latin America. The performance of those terminals slowed down as they face increasing difficulties to move containers in and out of the terminal.
  • Ports and operations are running smoothly with regular hours.
  • A market-rate increase is expected for service to Asia in the coming weeks.
  • Service to the U.S. and Europe is running smoothly with no significant issue. Most vessels are reportedly moving full. 

Ocean Port Operations Status 

Twenty members of the Port Authorities Roundtable from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America met on April 24 to declare their commitment to ensuring their ports remain open amidst the current pandemic. The declaration, initiated by Singapore, calls for port authorities to collaborate and share best practices in ensuring that port operations are not disrupted. Through this joint declaration, the signatories are committed to work together and ensure that:

  • Merchant ships can continue to berth at port terminals to carry out cargo operations and keep the global supply chain going;
  • Best practices are adopted, according to national circumstances, including precautionary measures for the shipping community, advisories and assistance for shore personnel and ship crew, and safe handling of cargoes during this period; and
  • Port authorities continue to share experiences in combating COVID-19 while safeguarding unimpeded maritime trade.

The Roundtable has shared the declaration with the IMO and the International Association of Ports and Harbours to rally other port authorities to join the declaration.

BIMCO has a page dedicated to Port Status, it can be viewed here

Commercial Air Operations Update

Air cargo capacity increase produces swift knock-on effect on rates | Rise in maindeck and belly space in the past few weeks has narrowed the gap between some contracted rate levels in the pre-COVID-19 period and current prices – and led to congestion.

Air freight rate increases slow – and even reverse – as more capacity arrives | Air freight rates are finally stabilising, after weeks of rising at unprecedented levels. Charter brokers and air freight rate indices are seeing increases slow – or even reverse – as more capacity comes into the market. Freight Investor Services (FIS), using data from the TAC Index, revealed a 47-cent decline in Shanghai to Europe prices, Hong Kong to Europe has fallen by 18 cents, while China to Europe, overall, has fallen 32 cents. (Loadstar, May 12).

Air Market update - Air cargo volumes, which fell rapidly in March, improved in the second half of last month. But although April volumes were down 39%, year on year, and capacity was 45% lower, the past fortnight shows cargo volumes have become "less bad". March's year-on-year volume drop was 23%, and month-on-month to April was down 29%. But, as the chart below shows, both volumes and capacity are creeping up on a weekly basis. And air freight rates, while still "highly elevated", remained stable in the past week as more capacity came on stream, according to Freightos' WebCargo data. Clive's data chimes with research from both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, whose chief economist Jan Hatzius noted this week that "economic activity has probably bottomed now". The bank predicts advanced economies will contract about 32% on average this quarter, but will grow 16% over the next three months and 13% in the fourth quarter…. "But a greater fall in capacity, mixed with the urgent need for personal protective equipment (PPE) by governments around the world, explains also why current air cargo yields have reportedly gone through the roof." He said the data could be the first signs of recovery. "Although it is too early to tell, the most recent trend, coupled with the views of leading global economists, might give us hope… "Air rates out of China have increased more than 400% since January, while ocean rates are nearly unchanged." Freightos noted: "For air cargo coming out of China, some estimates indicate this peak PPE demand has kept rates extremely high, despite passenger jet conversions." Read the full article from The Loadstar

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) renewed its call for government relief measures as the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis in MENA deepen. Middle East airlines could lose $24 billion of passenger revenue compared to 2019. That is $5 billion more than was expected at the beginning of the month. Job losses in aviation and related industries could grow to 1.2 million. That is half of the region's 2.4 million aviation-related employment. The previous estimate was 9 million. Full-year 2020 traffic is expected to plummet by 51% compared to 2019. The previous estimate was a fall of 39%. GDP supported by aviation in the region could fall by $66 billion from $130 billion. The previous estimate was $51 billion.

Asia-Europe - Airlines have been continuing to respond to an urgent demand for the transport of medical equipment by adding extra cargo capacity, but it has not put the brakes on rate increases out of China and Hong Kong. TAC Index figures show that last week's average air cargo rates from Shanghai to North America breached the $10 per kg mark to hit $10.55 per kg – up 13% on a week earlier and another record for the index which began in March 2016. From Shanghai to Europe there was a 17% week-on-week increase to $10.45 per kg, also a record for the trade. Prices out of Hong Kong were also on the up last week – increasing by 22.6% week-on-week to North America to $8.18 per kg and by 12.6% to $5.98 per kg to Europe. Meanwhile, statistics from Seabury Consulting show that capacity has been added to the market over the last few weeks. Capacity from the Asia Pacific region to North America was last week 4% lower than a year ago, while at the end of March capacity was 19% down on a year earlier. Capacity from the Asia Pacific to Europe is now 20% down on a year ago, compared with 30% at the end of March. (Air Cargo News, May 5).

IATA released an information page listing the status of airlines globally, which is free for all to access; https://www.tact-online.org/covid-19. IATA has welcomed the European Commission's (EC) Guidelines on Facilitating Air Cargo Operations During the COVID-19 Outbreak. IATA said that the EC has understood the industry's challenges and provided comprehensive and practical guidance to ensure that permissions to operate are quickly granted and that aircrew can operate efficiently with exemptions from quarantine measures. Global airlines face $39bn in a second-quarter net loss as revenue and traffic plummet, IATA says.

World goods trade is expected to fall by between 13% and 32% in 2020 as the COVID 19 pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) forecasts, with a recovery expected in 2021 dependent on the duration of the outbreak and the effectiveness of policy responses. WTO predicted that nearly all regions would suffer double-digit declines in trade volumes in 2020, with exports from North America and Asia hit hardest. It said trade would likely fall steeper in sectors with complex value chains, particularly electronics and automotive products.

  • Delta Cargo and American Airlines Cargo are the first Vendors to make use of the free PayCargo community service. The online payment company has launched a free communication mechanism that allows vendors such as airlines, ship terminals, and maritime operators to share key information with the 20,000-plus payer users in the company's online system. The service enables vendors to communicate the availability of new capacity options to payers. It has been launched to help the freight and shipping community as it contends with global supply chain challenges due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Airbus & Boeing with the coronavirus pandemic affecting the aviation industry, Airbus and Boeing find themselves in an unprecedented crisis. The financial impact has hit both manufacturers that are forced to burn through their cash to keep their supply lines active. Airbus opened the dance early on the morning of April 29, 2020, by reporting a net loss of $521 million in the first quarter of 2020. Chief Executive Guillaume Faury warned its troops two days before: "The survival of Airbus is at stake if we do not act now." 122 aircraft were delivered, 40 fewer than last year. Another 60 planes were produced but saw their deliveries deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The position of Boeing is hardly more favorable, as later in the day, it reported a net loss of $641 million. For Boeing, this is a second consecutive quarter in the red, and the manufacturer is already affected by another crisis ‒ the grounding of its 737 MAX, lasting for over a year now. Only 50 aircraft were delivered, a third of last year's performance. Yet Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun remained confident. "Air travel has always been resilient, our portfolio of products and technology is well-positioned, and we are confident we will emerge from the crisis and thrive again as a leader of our industry," he said.
  • Air Canada has significantly reduced its number of flights as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, but it is utilizing its fleet to transport cargo to keep supply chains moving. Check aircanadacargo.com for flight updates.  In an operations update, Air Canada said that it has capacity on scheduled wide-body flights operating on routes between Canada, Europe, and Asia. Capacity is also available on four weekly cargo-only flights to and from Shanghai — and there is a possibility that it will add additional scheduled flights to and from Shanghai too. Additionally, ad-hoc all-cargo flights on Boeing 777 and 787-9 aircraft are available on-demand to almost anywhere in the world. Dozens of such flights have operated so far, mostly from Toronto to Europe and Asia. The airline is suspending all flights to the U.S. through to May 22 due to the extension of the border closure. It also reduced its schedule by more than 90% since March 16.
  • Air France/KLM outlines strings attached to Air France $7B state loan Share this news submit to Reddit Caught in the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Air France has to make concessions. As a condition to the state aid granted by France, the airline will have to reduce short-haul routes to only connecting lines if a rail alternative exists. The French government offered financial support to its national carrier in the form of two loans, one from six banks guaranteed by the state, and one direct shareholder loan from the state, for a total of €7 billion. According to Le Maire, a nationalization of Air France or an increase in the capital of the group is "not on the agenda" for now. However, one of the conditions to obtain the aid requires Air France to "drastically" reduce its domestic network when passengers have an alternative to travel by train. "As soon as there is a rail alternative to domestic flights that last less than 2 hours 30 minutes, these flights will have to be drastically reduced and to be frankly limited for a transfer to a hub," Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire explained to the National Assembly. Thus, connecting flights from Orly and Roissy airports should be exempted, while other regional airports such as Bordeaux or Nantes could see their traffic seriously reduced. Additionally, Air France will have to meet its environmental commitments ‒ "50% reduction in its CO2 emissions per passenger and per km between 2005 and 2030." Another condition includes fleet renewal for more efficient aircraft, with a priority for Airbus planes. The fleet change could reduce fuel consumption by as much as 20%. Finally, flights should use at least 2% of sustainable fuel by 2025. Plans are in place to resume all flights to Africa from July 3. The European Commission has approved the French government's €7bn (£6.2bn) bailout of Air France-KLM. The package includes a €4bn state-backed bank loan and €3bn in direct loans and is aimed at protecting the 350,000 jobs sustained by the airline. (Telegraph, May 4).
  • Air India is said to have rejected the government's demand to convert some of its passenger aircraft into cargo planes by removing seats, although some private airlines have offered their planes to carry material from one city to another during the nationwide lockdown. The government had only asked Air India to convert its passenger planes to cargo, which the national carrier feels is unviable. The government halted domestic passenger airline operations, putting a large chunk of air cargo capacity out of the system as almost all airline operators carry cargo in the bellies of their passenger aircraft. The only Indian carrier with freighter aircraft in its fleet is Spice-Jet, which runs it under the SpiceXpress brand, and can transport between 50 tonnes and 80 tonnes on its Boeing freighter aircraft. (India Times)
  • American Airlines the biggest airline in the world in terms of fleet size, had to trim the amount of aircraft it operated due to the current pandemic. The Dallas/Fort Worth-based carrier already waved goodbye to five aircraft types and is putting one more into long-term storage. "As we continue to make refinements to our flying schedule and fleet requirements based on this period of decreased demand, we've decided to keep our fleet of 15 Airbus A330-200 aircraft in storage into 2022," confirmed an American Airlines spokesperson to AeroTime News. The A330-200 will temporarily join its bigger brother, the Airbus A330-300, two Boeing jets, the 757-200 and the 767-300ER, the Embraer E190, and the Bombardier CRJ200, as American Airlines announced the retirement of these fleet types on April 30, 2020. AA's spokesperson also indicated that the routes, previously operated by the A330-200, will now be taken over by the Boeing 777 and the 787 Dreamliner. The two Boeing wide-body aircraft would remain the only twin-isles in American Airlines' fleet until the Airbus wide-body is returned to service in 2022. The average age of the carrier's A330-200s is 8.4 years, indicates planespotters.net data. On the bright side, the crews and personnel that worked on the stored fleet are set to retain their jobs. The airline currently has 25 unfilled orders for the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, Boeing's data shows. American has no Airbus wide-body aircraft on order.
  • Avianca the second-largest airline group in Latin America, filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 in New York, the United States. The company states the move was necessary to navigate the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the second time Avianca enters administration in its 100-year history. Avianca's scheduled passenger operations have been grounded since mid-March 2020. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, 88% of the countries where Avianca operates imposed total or partial passenger air transport restrictions. As a result, the company's revenues fell by over 80%. In response to the crisis, the Columbian airline group has already imposed employee furloughs, temporary wage reductions, reductions in non-essential capital expenditures, and temporarily deferred payments on long-term leases.
  • British Airways call flights from London Gatwick. British Airways to suspend 80% of its staff during the COVID-19 crisis. Direct flights to Tokyo suspended. After the announcement on April 2, 2020, about the furlough of 30,000 workers (all of them retaining 80% of wages), British Airways (BA) now reveals its intentions to dispense with services of a quarter of its employees. The International Airlines Group (IAG), the controlling company of British Airways, indicated in a statement on April 28, 2020, that although the matter will remain subject to consultation, there is still a high probability it will eventually result in the redundancy of 12,000 BA workers of its 42,000 staff.
  • Cargolux will increase freighter capacity to China over the coming weeks as production lines resume operations. The move comes as freighter operators brace for a spike in demand from China as a result of passenger airlines cutting services due to low demand and factories slowly starting to come back online following an extended Chinese New Year break due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Cathay Pacific (and Cathay Dragon) the airline operated just 10% of flights in March 2020, the airline revealed on April 16. However, the Hong Kong-based carrier expects the upcoming months could be even worse, warning that its passenger flights could be down to just 1%. Suspended all freighter flights into all cities in India. As a result of recently announced government-imposed restrictions in India and Vietnam, several flights have been canceled. Their plan is to resume operations from May 31. Check their website for additional flight cancellations. Cathay Pacific Airways to make further cuts to flights due to low demand.
  • Delta service has been suspended between New York and Atlanta to London-Heathrow. Delta Cargo is adjusting operating hours for warehouses, DASH offices, and the Cargo Customer Service Center. To see the hours of DASH offices and their global warehouses, please visit Worldwide Locations on deltacargo.com. This new timeframe will help minimize shipment disruptions as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and impact Delta's flight schedule. Visit Deltacargo.com for the latest updates. Delta Airlines released a list of international services that begin in May. Select services will once again be operational allowing the movement of passengers and cargo.
  • Emirates has introduced weekly scheduled cargo flights using its Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft to Sao Paulo. The airline said that the move would allow importers and exporters in the region to stay connected with their trading partners across the world with access to around 40 tonnes of cargo capacity on the lower deck of the Emirates aircraft. In addition to the weekly scheduled flights, the cargo carrier is scheduled to operate multiple charter flights to Sao Paulo to transport medical supplies in the month of May. Emirates SkyCargo has also operated cargo flights to other points in South America including Buenos Aires, Quito, and Santiago during the last two weeks. In addition, the cargo business said that it has exported flowers and perishables in Ecuador by operating four cargo flights from Quito during the last week of April. The cargo transported on these flights were mainly flowers and other perishables being transported to Europe. At current planning, Emirates SkyCargo is set to execute more than 10 charter flights across its South American destinations for the month of May. In addition, the carrier will be resuming passengers' flights to a few destinations as of May 21st those are London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney, and Melbourne. The airline will also offer connections in Dubai for customers traveling between the UK and Australia. Emirates reports AED 1.7 bn profit in 2019-20; cargo division posts 14% revenue decline. Emirates Group posted its 32nd consecutive year of profit, against a drop in revenue mainly attributed to reduced operations during the planned DXB runway closure in the first quarter, and the impact of flight and travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the fourth quarter. The total passenger and cargo capacity declined by 8 percent to 58.6 billion available tonne-kilometers (ATKMs).
  • Emirates SkyCargo has launched four weekly cargo flights to New Zealand as part of a government scheme to keep trade moving. The air cargo carrier is working with the government of New Zealand as part of its International Airfreight Capacity (IAFC) scheme to help facilitate the exports of key commodities from New Zealand to the rest of the world while ensuring that essential cargo continues to be transported into the country. Emirates SkyCargo is the latest airline to announce that it is not only using passenger aircraft in cargo-only operations but that it is using the cabin and overhead bin space — in addition to the belly-hold — for cargo capacity too. Currently, the carrier is operating 60 of its Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft for dedicated cargo operations. The aircraft has a 40-50 tonne belly-hold cargo capacity per flight, as well as additional capacity in the cabin and overhead bins.
  • Etihad Airways ever since suspending all of its scheduled passenger services in March 2020, Etihad Airways was eager to resume flights, if only to one destination. However, as the UAE government keeps COVID-19 travel restrictions in place, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier had once again pushed forward the due-date on when this could happen. All flights remain currently suspended, Etihad Airways' website warns customers on April 27, 2020. In its most recent estimations, the carrier planned to reinstate the scheduled service by May 1, 2020. However, it now expects to resume scheduled flights no earlier than May 16, 2020. To increase the flow of essential supplies into UAE they are using belly hold capacity on a mix of Boeing 777 and 787 passenger aircraft, Etihad Cargo has introduced services between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne, Chennai, Kerala, Karachi, and Amsterdam, in addition to passenger freighters already operating scheduled cargo-only flights to Seoul, Beijing, Bangkok, Singapore, Manila, Jakarta, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Riyadh.
  • EVA Air is still flying into HKG / PVG / PEK at this moment. Freighter service seems reasonable, but PAX flights have been reduced by more than 50%. 
  • IAG Cargo stated May 8, revenues had fallen 11.6% in Q1. IAG Cargo reports few results, but it said between 1 January and 31 March, it saw commercial revenue of €246m ($265m), with yields up 4.8% compared with last year at constant currency. Capacity was down just 13.8%. Sold tonnage was down 14.9%, while cargo tonne-km (CTKs) fell 15.7%. But the problems that beset March were offset by a "solid performance" in January and early February, it said. IAG plans meaningful return to flying in July "The industry will adapt to new requirements in the same way that it has adapted to developments in security requirements in the past," said IAG chief executive Willie Walsh.
  • Icelandair announced very significant job cuts and a restructuring of its organizational structure. The flag carrier of Iceland indicated that around 2,000 employees would lose their jobs, with the crew, maintenance, and ground operations personnel affected the most by the job cuts. The airline will introduce a new operational division, responsible for the development of its business and digital processes. The number of executives on the board will be reduced from nine to eight.
  • KLM with Royal Philips and the Dutch government to create a special cargo air bridge between the Netherlands and China which was launched on Monday 13th April. For the next six to eight weeks, KLM will specially redeploy Boeing 747 Combi equipment for the service between the Netherlands and China. This air bridge will ensure continuous availability of special cargo capacity, with two weekly flights to Beijing and three weekly flights to Shanghai. This will ensure around 250 tonnes of extra cargo capacity each way per week. KLM to resume flights to Milan on May 4. Resumes flights to some European locations.
  • Korean Air has started to use passenger aircraft to transport cargo on suspended passenger flights. Flight cancelations into mainland China, refer to their website for the most current updates. It was reported today they both carriers will also delay all trips to and from Italy.
  • LATAM Cargo capacity between Europe and South America was increased by 20%, adding up to a total of six weekly frequencies, mainly catering for the transportation of automotive spare parts, general cargo, and medicines to South America, as well as transport of perishable products to Europe. The airline has adjusted its international itinerary to strengthen its airfreight links between Latin America and Europe with the addition of seventh weekly service utilizing one of its B767 freighters. As part of the new itinerary, LATAM Cargo will use Amsterdam as its main point of entry into Europe. LATAM's use of the European hub will benefit exporters of perishables from countries in Latin America, including Chile, Peru, Guatemala, and Brazil. LATAM Cargo's return route will originate in Frankfurt, Germany, and will enable cargo such as medical equipment and supplies, and electronics, to be exported from Frankfurt to Latin America.
  • Lufthansa is operating two daily flights from Frankfurt to Shanghai (PVG) and one regular service to Beijing (PEK) utilizing an A330-300 aircraft. An A350-900 will take off from Munich daily to Shanghai (PVG) and Beijing (PEK). (Air Cargo Eye, April 14). They will increase freighter capacity to China over the coming weeks as production lines resume operations. The move comes as freighter operators brace for a spike in demand from China as a result of passenger airlines cutting services due to low demand and factories slowly starting to come back online following an extended Chinese New Year break due to the coronavirus outbreak. The remaining flights in the long-haul program are the following, operated three times a week from Frankfurt: Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD), Montreal (YUL), Sao Paulo (GRU), Johannesburg (JNB), Tokyo (TYO) and Bangkok (BKK). Lufthansa extends cuts until May 3. The airline is operating the cargo flights to Munich with four Airbus A350 passenger aircraft and is flying similar missions with six Airbus A330 planes based in Frankfurt. With these ten passenger airliners, Lufthansa has created additional airfreight capacity and expanded the Lufthansa Cargo fleet, which has 17 freight-only aircraft.  The daily cargo flights with the passenger jets are expected to continue at least until mid-May. Lufthansa may seek creditor protection alongside Berlin rescue talks. While Lufthansa's fleet remains grounded and fixed costs that leases and employee wages keep accumulating, the company is looking for options to weather the storm. One of the options could be to declare self-insolvency protections instead of taking up state aid, which would come with attached strings. Lufthansa is weighing whether to enter the so-called protective shield proceedings. The procedure, similar to Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the United States, would protect Lufthansa from creditors' actions while it tries to trim its fat and to restructure its business. Such considerations are made due to the fact that the German government could provide state aid, but it wants to obtain a stake in the company. This would come with several conditions, including seats on the group's board and that the group would guarantee job safety, if Lufthansa wants to obtain the $9.7 billion (€9 billion) state aid package, reported the Financial Times. Negotiations between the company and the government are still ongoing. Lufthansa is now requiring masks for all personnel and guests entering their freight facilities in ATL , HOU and CHI effective May 6, 2020. This policy is already in place for LAX or NYC and JFK facilities. Deutsche Lufthansa AG's talks with the German government over a multi-billion euro aid package are coming down to how much the state will profit over the coming years for rescuing Europe's biggest airline, people familiar with the matter said. (Bloomberg, May 3).
  • Malaysian Cargo MASKargo has operated an A380 aircraft on a cargo-only flight – moving e-commerce goods from Kuala Lumpur International (KLIA) to Heathrow. The airline said that — as far as it is aware — this is the first time an A380 has been used on a cargo-only basis. MASKargo said that flight MH04 departed KLIA at 9.50am on Tuesday with 26 tons of cargo made up of mostly e-commerce goods originating from Guangzhou. "This is definitely an innovative and 'beyond-the-box approach' on our part; as no other Airbus A380 equipped airline that we know, has done this," said Ibrahim Mohamed Salleh, MASkargo's chief executive.
  • Qantas extends international and domestic flight cancellations at least until June.
  • Qatar Airways with international travel virtually non-existent, Qatar Airways has a tough situation to manage: with no domestic routes, its only source of passenger revenue was cut short. While the airline has been particularly active in helping governments repatriate their stranded citizens, changes had to be made, as its international schedule was reduced to the bone. The airline now plans to cut jobs in order to weather the turbulence. Qatar Airways' Akbar Al Baker, the chief executive officer, indicated that the carrier is forced to face "a new reality," as borders are closed, which renders many of the airline's "destinations closed and aircraft grounded," he added. There is no "foreseeable outlook for immediate, positive change," indicated Al Baker. Thus, the already loss-making state-owned Qatar Airways cannot keep the current amount of jobs, thus the company needs "to make a substantial number of jobs redundant." Redundant employees would still be paid their contractual dues and any unpaid overtime. If they are unable to return to their home countries due to travel restrictions, the airline would provide housing and a living allowance until the aforementioned restrictions are lifted.
  • Singapore Airlines extends flight cancellations until the end of June.
  • South African the South African government announced that a new national airline would be created on the ruins of South African Airways (SAA), whose fall was accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. SAA, which has recorded no profit since 2011, is heavily indebted and only survived thanks to regular cash injections from the state. Over the past three years, more than $1.1 billion have been injected into the company. While the airline managed to secure a 3.5 billion rands ($240 million) funding from investors that included the state-owned Development Bank of Southern Africa in January 2020, the coronavirus crisis currently affecting the air transport industry precipitated its demise. After refusing to pay another 10 billion rands ($532 million) of emergency aid, the ministry of public enterprises announced on May 1, 2020, that the national carrier, created in 1934, would disappear to give way to a new airline. "Stakeholders have agreed on a long-term vision and strategy" with a view to "the creation of a new dynamic airline," public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan said, predicting "the beginning of a new journey". South African Airways on the brink, after state, denies support. The government of South Africa announced its decision not to grant another 10 billion rands ($532 million) of emergency aid to South African Airways. The survival of the carrier, whose fragile situation has worsened due to the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, is more uncertain than ever. Unions are wary of upcoming layoffs.
  • Thai Airways like many other airlines around the world, Thai Airways was hit hard by the travel restrictions put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. To ensure its liquidity, the airline wants to obtain an emergency loan, guaranteed by the Thai Ministry of Finance. The emergency loan would amount to $1.8 billion (THB58.1 billion), reported Reuters. Approved by the Ministry of Finance, the proposal is set to appear before the Cabinet of Thailand next week. Thai Airways plans to raise $2.3 billion (TBH77 billion) of capital in November 2020 by issuing new shares in order to return the loan, pay off the interest and have enough cash to continue its operations. The airline indicated that it would trim its fleet to 84 aircraft by 2024 and reduce the number of cockpit types from seven to six in order to reduce its costs. Currently, the airline operates an all-wide-body fleet that includes six Airbus A380 and seven Boeing 747- 400 aircraft, amongst other aircraft types. It's subsidiary Thai Smile flies using 20 Airbus A320 narrow-bodies. The national flag carrier of Thailand has exhibited signs of struggle prior to the coronavirus crisis, as it was unprofitable since 2017. The latest financial data indicated that Thai Airways ended 2019 with a net loss of $371 million (THB12 billion) and had $667 million (THB21.6 billion) of cash reserves.
  • Turkish Cargo has optimized its flight network and schedule, the update is available on their website.
  • United Cargo in a letter from the President of United Cargo, Jan Krems, on April 9, stated the following. "Cargo-only flight program continues to succeed and grow.  Since we began using Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft from United's passenger fleet for this purpose, we have operated over 270 flights carrying more than 4.2 million kilos of cargo. What's behind these numbers is much more important: keeping the global supply chain moving and connecting people to the products they need during this crisis. Our flights are carrying vital medical supplies like test kits and personal protective equipment to healthcare professionals all over the world. We began cargo-only flights on March 19 with service between our U.S. hubs and key cities in Europe: AMS, FRA, and LHR. Since then, we've added BRU, HKG, PVG, SYD, and TLV to our all-cargo flight network, and we expect to begin service to and from CTU, PEK, and TPE later this week. As you can tell, expanding our cargo-only flight's program is a top priority for our team. United continues to temporarily adjust our passenger flight schedules due to the drop in demand as a result of the pandemic, to keep our employees safe and help to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in certain regions. To ensure you always have the most current flight data, United Cargo maintains a dedicated webpage listing all major COVID-19 schedule adjustments – including our cargo-only flights. This page is continually updated as new changes are made, and you can access it here. The company has increased its program of cargo-only flights to 150 per week.
  • UPS Air Cargo as a result of dynamic demand to numerous world regions, effective immediately and until further notice, custom rates may not apply for loose or prebuilt shipments for any US-origin shipments destined to the United Arab Emirates. As a result of the increased demand for China for UPS Air Cargo Shipments, effective immediately and until further notice, all US origin shipments that are destined to China, including PVG, CAN, XMN, SZX, FOC, HKG) custom rates will not apply for loose or prebuilt deliveries. For your price, please contact your Sales Representative.
  • Virgin Atlantic following airlines such as British Airways, Air Canada, and SAS, Virgin Atlantic announced that it would cut more than 3,100 jobs, over a third of its workforce, to deal with the coronavirus crisis. Additionally, its whole fleet of seven Boeing 747 aircraft will be retired, and its activities at London Gatwick airport will cease. "We have weathered many storms since our first flight 36 years ago, but none has been as devastating as Covid-19 and the associated loss of life and livelihood for so many," Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic commented in a statement. Similarly to British Airways, Virgin Atlantic will close its operations in London Gatwick Airport (LGW). The company had been headquartered in the airport since its foundation, 35 years ago. Routes will be transferred to London Heathrow (LHR). The company's founder, Richard Branson, warned that without financial help, the airline may collapse. He asked for $615 million in state aid in the form of loans from the British government and even offered his private island as security. Salvation, however, will not come from the company co-owner, Delta Air Lines, which possesses 49% of Virgin Atlantic; the remaining 51% belongs to Virgin Group. After reporting a loss of $534m for the first quarter of 2020, the U.S.-based airline ruled out any cash injection into the ailing British carrier. "These are truly unprecedented times for all of us, including the airline industry. Government travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders have been effective in slowing the spread of the virus, but have also severely impacted near-term demand for air travel, reducing our expected June quarter revenues by 90 percent, compared to a year ago" said Ed Bastian, Delta's chief executive officer. Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act put in place by the U.S. government, Delta should receive at least $5.4 billion, including $1.6 billion in low-interest loans. That money should help the company maintain jobs until the end of September 2020, after which it will be authorized to carry out layoffs (Clement Charpentreau). Virgin Atlantic plans to operate 90 cargo flights per week in May as production begins to restart and coronavirus-related demand continues. The UK airline said that the move would cater to prime freight markets in the US, Hong Kong, and China, India, Israel, and South Africa. Virgin Atlantic said that it had 14 aircraft at its disposal for cargo-only operations, including four A350s capable of carrying up to 49 tonnes of goods. The airline will also operate cargo-only flights through Dublin for the first time to cater for Ireland's medical technology, electronics, and other industries to achieve same-day connections to New York JFK, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, and Johannesburg. Services will be operated using the airline's Boeing 787-9 aircraft, which can carry up to 55 tonnes of cargo. Virgin Atlantic will also increase its ability to offer exclusive cargo charters, which currently average 13 flights per week.
  • Virgin Australia with an enormous debt before the corona crisis and the local government's denial of state aid, Virgin Australia might become the first airline to go down under, due to the current pandemic. The airline is reportedly prepared to go into voluntary administration to assess its future, with one of the options being to shut down Virgin Australia completely. The fallout of Virgin Australia would leave Qantas as the sole Australian airline, something that the Prime Minister of Australia doesn't want to happen. The government has expressed a desire to have "two viable commercial airlines in Australia." However, it was also reluctant to provide direct support to Virgin Australia, which had asked to give an $841 million (AUD1.4 billion) loan. Alan Joyce, the CEO of competing airline Qantas, reiterated that if their main competitors were to get the $841 million (AUD1.4 billion) loan, the Flying Roo should reach $2.6 billion (AUD4.2 billion).

Charter Operations and Aircraft Availability

  • Capacity is available for charters globally, contact us for current rates and availability.
  • We have seen opportunities for part charters (20 tons and up) recently, but not seen regularly. If you have an opportunity, send us the details, and we can work on current, part charter capacity, and pricing. Charter prices are based on current availability, and that could change rapidly. Capacity and rates have been fluctuating a lot over the past few days.
  • Crane Worldwide must have a signed charter authorization from our client before we can sign the charter contract with the provider. Make sure you have someone standing by to sign agreements, capacity, and rates change quickly.
  • On all charters, funds must be received from our client before wheels up.

Ground Transportation Operations

United States

  • Employment in the for-hire trucking industry fell in April by 88,000 jobs due to economic slowdown from coronavirus. While the driver shortage is temporarily erased, a chokepoint in licensing and training new drivers at present could have negative consequences in the near future.
  • For the first time since late March, pricing on the top 100 van lanes included more increases than decreases. National load-to-truck ratios for all equipment types are also trending upward, signaling that demand for truckload shipments is returning, as produce season picks up and some states begin to reopen businesses.
  • North American rail volumes declined 20.3% y/y in the last 4-week period compared to the 10.5% y/y decrease in the previous 4-week period.
  • Outbound tender volumes continue to climb slowly. The rate of acceleration has decreased this week compared to last, only up 2.0% week-over-week. National volumes have now bounced nearly 10% off the bottom on April 6th and are 7% lower year-over-year.
  • Nine of the 15 major freight markets tracked were positive on a week-over-week basis. This ratio is a significant improvement from recent weeks. The markets with the largest gains in OTVI. The USA was Savannah, Georgia (17.02%), Houston (6.42%), and Los Angeles (6.04%).
  • Rail freight fell 22% in April year-over-year amid headwinds related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, North American rail volumes could fall roughly 15% or more compared to a year ago.
  • Total employment in the for-hire trucking industry tumbled by 88,000 jobs in April, according to the Department of Labor's monthly Employment Situation Summary. Trucking's 1,435,600 million total jobs, down from 1,523,900 in March, is the lowest since November 2014, according to DOL data.
  • Industry experts are projecting that demand disruption is going to create additional challenges for commercial trucking through the rest of the year and into the first half of 2021.
  • U.S. railroads originated 980,535 carloads in April 2020, a 25% year-over-year (YoY) decline, and 1,095,423​ intermodal containers, a 17% YoY drop, according to the latest numbers from the Association of American Railroads.
  • The drop in volume has led to railroads cutting capacity. CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific mentioned reducing train starts during April earnings calls. "The reason that we're reducing train starts is that [customers'] volumes are down and all we need to do is to have an honest dialog with our customers about the fact that we don't think we can serve them five days a week," CSX CEO Jim Foote told analysts at the end of April.
  • Diesel price is down about 25% from where it was a year ago.
  • "We are licensing a fraction of the commercial drivers as would have been produced under 'normal' circumstances," said Don Lefeve, president and CEO of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA), which represents nearly 200 training providers. "Given this impediment and other impediments such as CDL skills testing backlogs, we believe that our nation will produce an estimated 60% of the drivers of the commercial drivers compared to a normal year."
  • CVTA members train 50,000 commercial drivers annually. According to industry estimates, prior to the coronavirus, there was a shortage of 60,000 drivers.
  • Freight rates in the trucking spot market have "bottomed out" and will probably not continue their steep slump caused by Covid-19 business shutdowns and stay at home policies, according to a new industry index created by industry research firm FTR Transportation Intelligence and the digital freight matching platform Truckstop.com.
  • Rail volumes are tracking down 21% quarter to date with auto volumes down nearly 90%. As auto plants plan to re-open over the next couple of weeks, this appears to be the bottom for rail volumes.
  • Trucking companies are still reeling from drastic declines in rates, as large swaths of the economy remain closed in response to COVID-19. That has hurt the demand for truckload shipments, and prices continue to fall on most major lanes. One small silver lining is that produced season has led to small upticks in load-to-truck ratios, which softened the blow in a handful of markets last week.
  • Dry Van Rejection rates have fallen to less than 3% on average, pushing spot rates below contracted rates.
  • Our fleet continues to operate, and we are staffed to coordinate loads, establish scheduled or dedicated runs, and respond to ad hoc opportunities.
  • Our manager of 3rd party capacity, Crane Solutions, is also staffed to work on meeting the demands of our clients with a variety of equipment, mode, and ability.
  • Our cross docks and logistics centers have space and are staffed to handle forward stocking, shipment diversions, and safety stock as services under our logistics offering.

Europe

  • Haulage bottlenecks bring relief to Europe's multimodal operators - Samskip's chief commercial officer says road and ferry restrictions have led to a distinct modal shift across Europe's freight network, as shippers vie to fulfill cargo consignments. Samskip's 'through- transport concept', incorporating shortsea, barge, and rail services have sparked interest among shippers more commonly associated with haulage, as they are not restricted by border controls and medical checks on drivers (Lloyds List, May 12).
  • Global Border Crossing Status and restrictions - Facilitated by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe follow this link.
  • Coronavirus sparks EU truck sales collapse - The March slump in commercial vehicle registrations highlights the extent of the economic slowdown in Europe. With Fitch Ratings now predicting a widespread recession in the EU this year, demand could deteriorate further.
  • Germany - Coronavirus is delaying the implementation of the e-highway pilot on the A5 motorway in the state of Hesse. This follows engineer shortage at Scania, who is the manufacturer for the pantographic e-truck test model, and repair work on the e-autobahn section of the A5 being postponed due to road works being prioritized elsewhere.
  • European Logistics Association (ELA) - Following a surge of demand at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the significant road transport trade associations expect a short term drop of between 25% to 30% in the activity compared with the normal levels scheduled at this time of year, which is both due to the decline of demand and the difficulties experienced by international transporters as a result of imposed borders controls that have been introduced to mitigate the virus spread and additional health checks that are generating queues of several kilometers.

Updates by Country/Territory

Some good news it was reported today that several countries are starting to slowly open up Germany / Switzerland / Austria, to name three.

  • Africa - canceled all African airlines scheduled flights to China except for Ethiopian Airlines.
  • Argentina - quarantine period extended until April 27 in major cities. The government banned international passenger flights from COVID-19 affected countries including all of Europe, the United States, South Korea, Japan, China and Iran, the decree will be in place for 30 days.
  • Australia - intends to maintain restrictions for at least 4 more weeks. State of Western Australia introduced hard border closures beginning on April 6. Australia. The government will extend the closure of international borders for at least 3-4 months.
  • Austria - will deny entry to people arriving from Italy.
  • Bangladesh - has extended the nationwide holiday until May 16 as the country tries to contain the outbreak from COVID-19. All flights from Bahrain, Bhutan, Hong Kong, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, and the UK have been suspended until May 16.
  • Belgium - has this week started to ease its coronavirus lockdown step by step, with additional exit measures scheduled to be introduced on May 11, May 18 and June 8. There are still restrictions on direct commercial air service from Belgium to the United States.
  • Brazil - the state issued a new mandate Thursday, which makes mandatory the use of face masks in public spaces, including ride-share vehicles. The state government did not specify how long the measure will remain in place. The state is scheduled to begin a gradual reopening plan on May 11, according to an announcement made by Doria last month. It's still unclear which businesses will be allowed to resume activities under that plan. The country will bar entry of any non-resident nationals for 30 days.
  • Bulgaria - The country banned entry on its territory of citizens from 15 countries with large coronavirus outbreaks. The list includes Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland beginning March 18.
  • Cameroon - Air, land, and sea borders closed as of 18 March.  All passenger flights from abroad will be suspended except for cargo flights & ships.
  • Canada and U.S. - closed borders March 18 to non-essential travel; it does not include trade. While transport is essential and moving through US/Canada borders / limited impact on rail and ports, all Provinces have now declared a state of emergency and imposed lockdowns for all but essential service.  Crane Canada is considered an "Essential Service" and will remain open to serve our clients and colleagues. Land & Air Border is closed to all foreign visitors while the government and airlines finish up repatriation efforts. The only airports open to international flights are YUL, YYZ, YYC, and YVR. Truck driver hours of service limits have been "lifted" in Canada for drivers who are engaged in Coronavirus-related relief assistance efforts. Windsor International Airport, Ontario, closed to the public from 3-30 April because of COVID-19; flights suspended from April 2.
  • Cayman Islands - On Tuesday, 7 April 2020, the Cayman Islands Government announced that the Cayman Islands' borders would remain closed for an additional seven weeks until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 31. During this extended restriction period, domestic, cargo, courier, and emergency medical flights will continue to operate, in addition to air bridges and repatriation flights that the Cayman Islands Government approves. (Cayman Island Airport Authority)
  • China - Country temporarily suspended foreign nationals with valid Chinese Visas and residence. The government of China released a new policy on March 26 that effective immediately every airline can only operate one flight per week to one country. The government of China released a new policy March 26 that effective immediately every airline can only operate one flight/per week to one country, and the only airline move into Canada is MU (China Eastern Airlines). Backlogs of cargo at Shanghai Pudong airport are expected to continue until at least mid- to late-May as demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) continues to surge.
  • Colombia - On March 20, President Ivan Duque announced that starting on the night of March 24, the country will begin a 19-day nationwide quarantine. Inbound international commercial flights are suspended starting March 23 for 30 days.
  • Croatia - Government, imposing a 14-day quarantine upon truck drivers returning from Italy, many Croatian drivers are now choosing to remain in their own country, which is having a detrimental effect on haulage in Italy due to the reliance the country has on foreign drivers and adding to the skill shortage within the haulage sector, this is especially felt in the North East region of Italy.
  • The Czech Republic - has decided to extend land border controls with Austria and Germany and air border controls, which were set to expire on April 24, as it estimates they are vital to combat the new coronavirus crisis.
  • Cyprus - The government banned flights from 28 countries beginning March 28. 
  • Denmark - All air traffic from areas hit hard by COVID-19 is suspended. 
  • El Salvador - San Salvador International Airport to close for passengers for at least two weeks.
  • European Union - Non-EU residents, are not allowed to enter the region for the next 30 days unless they are long term residents of the EU, family members of EU nationals, diplomats, or essentials workers like doctors, nurses, and researchers.
  • France - Paris Orly airport to temporarily shut down beginning March 31, Paris CDG has also temporarily closed two terminals. Lockdown to continue until May 11. The period following May 11 would see a gradual easing of restrictions. The government stops all flights outside of the Schengen area. Transport authorities aiming to have 70% of Paris' network up operational by May 11. The government starts to lift lockdown measures but some restrictions continue. High-speed services between France/Germany resume.
  • Germany - The government has eased its lockdown. German Nationals advised against all non-essential travel until June 14. Social distancing measures extended until 05 June.
  • Greece - Country to suspend all passenger flights.
  • Guyana - International passenger flight are canceled until June 3. Cargo flights from Miami with Amerijet/M6 are still operating on a twice-weekly schedule with connecting interline carriers. DHL is still operating twice-weekly flight via POS and MIA.
  • Hong Kong - The government closes airports to foreign arrivals indefinitely. The government begins to ease restrictions on public gatherings and more businesses to reopen from May 8.
  • Hungary - Prime Minister, prolongs nationwide lockdown indefinitely.
  • Iberia - Ceased all flights on March 13 until further notice.
  • IcelandThe Government expects to ease restrictions for international arrivals by June 15.
  • India - The lockdown has been extended to May 17 with considerable relaxation. According to the Home Ministry (from our trade perspective) activities prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the zones are air, rail, interstate movement by roads. Industrial establishments in urban areas, SEZ, EOU, Industrial estates/townships with access controls are permitted. Also, private offices can operate with up to 33% strength as per requirement, with the remaining persons working from home. But it's not the case with all states and there are different approaches being taken by state governments/local authorities considering zonal situations. All Airports are operational with limited staff, priority has been given to essential cargo booking, loading, and customs clearances. Domestic and international passenger flights have been suspended up to May 17, freighters are operational sub to cargo availability. There is a backlog at all the major airports. Custom Clearance: due to limited availability of Customs officials custom clearances are taking a bit longer time. Also, priority has been given to Essential goods. Transportation: pick up/delivery can be arranged basis shipper self-declaration/letter sub to min advance notice of 5 to 7 days and for specialized vehicles, min 7 to 10 days projection required (due limited availability of vehicles and drivers) interstate movements are barred.
  • Indonesia - Foreign visitors wishing to enter Indonesia must obtain a visa from Indonesian missions following the purpose of their visit, and applicants must provide a health certificate issued by a relevant health authority from their respective countries. Indonesia will suspend its visa exemption policy for all countries for one month and expand restrictions for people with a history of travel to some of the world's countries hardest hit by the coronavirus. The suspension includes short-stay visits, visa-on-arrival, and diplomatic visa-free facilities.
  • Italy - Lockdown eased on May 05. The Italian Government issued a new decree. The measure calls for the cessation of all industrial or commercial production activities, except for essential products and services that are critical to the functioning of the nation. While health officials are becoming increasingly optimistic over the gradual decline in new case numbers, Premier Giuseppe Conte announced much stiffer fines for violators of the federal lockdown restrictions. At a Cabinet meeting, the government set penalties for violators from €400 to €3,000. Borders will remain closed to foreign tourists until the end of the year. The country reports ease of traveling restrictions from May 4. The Ticino border to Switzerland reopens.
  • Iraq - The country suspended all commercial flights to/from until further notice.
  • Ireland - The government extends lockdown until May 18. All essential businesses are continuing to operate which includes transportation and supply chain services. Cork Airport joins Dublin Airport & reduces operations.
  • Japan - Prime Minister declares a state of emergency until May 31.
  • Kazakhstan - The country bans entry to travelers from France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
  • Kuwait - Qatar Airways is currently operating outbound flights from Kuwait to Doha (Hamad International Airport) with connections to select U.S. cities. These one-way flights are available for U.S. citizens and U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). As of March 11, non-Kuwaiti citizens are barred from entering Kuwait through the airport. This does not apply to non-Kuwaiti immediate family members of Kuwaiti citizens who are traveling together with their Kuwaiti family members.
  • Lebanon - Local authorities extend lockdown until May 24.
  • Liberia - President declares state of emergency, quarantine for three weeks beginning April 10.
  • Mali - Authorities suspend flights from countries affected by COVID-19.
  • Malta - Country to cease all incoming passenger flights from 21 March & only allow cargo, humanitarian, and repatriation flights to land to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Malaysia - All airports and seaports are still functional as usual, except for priority is given to ESSENTIAL GOODS. This is until further notice. The essential goods are Food and Beverages, Agriculture and Fisheries including those imported, Household Products, Personal Protective Equipment, Pharmaceuticals, Printing Material, Medical and Surgical Devices and Parts, Oil and Gas, Petrol Related Chemicals, Chemical Materials (Steel and Poison), and Electricals including semiconductors. All international flights into Penang to be canceled. The government extends travel restrictions until May 12.
  • Mexico - Closed borders with the U.S. to non-essential travel; it does not include trade. The government tightens rules on gatherings and declares a health emergency until April 30.
  • Myanmar - The Myanmar Government temporarily suspends the issuance of Visa on Arrival (VOA) and e-visa for all countries until April 30. Effective March 25, all foreign nationals traveling to Myanmar are required to present laboratory evidence of absence of COVID-19 infection issued no more than 72 hours to date of travel before boarding any flight to Myanmar. They will be subject to a 14-day facility quarantine on their arrival into Myanmar. Myanmar closed borders with Bangladesh, China, India, Thailand, and Laos.
  • The Netherlands - The government prohibits non-EU travelers from entering the country. The Dutch government has approved the transfer of a large number of canceled passenger flights at Schiphol due to the coronavirus to carriers with unlimited speed and speed. The measure will take effect immediately and will certainly apply until 6 June this year, the independent slot coordinator at Schiphol (ACNL) reports Monday afternoon. The scheme is intended to ensure that sufficient ad hoc capacity for cargo flights at the airport remains available, as almost 50% of the cargo capacity at Schiphol has disappeared due to the scrapping of passenger flights. Government to begin phased easing of lockdown. Passengers on KLM Flights to wear Face Masks until 31 August.
  • New Zealand - Country closes borders to all foreign nationals.
  • Nigeria - Country bans entry of travelers from 13 countries; China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, UK & US.
  • Philippines - Is temporarily suspending the acceptance of export air forwarding, import air breakbulk/forwarding, and customs brokerage services requirements in Manila, starting March 24, due to a shutdown.
  • Poland - The country extends border closures, transport ban, and lockdown.
  • Portugal - Flights continue to be suspended. As of March 11, non-Kuwaiti citizens are barred from entering Kuwait through the airport. This does not apply to non-Kuwaiti immediate family members of Kuwaiti citizens who are traveling together with their Kuwaiti family members.
  • Qatar - The government extends the suspension of inbound flights except for transit and cargo. The Gulf state also continued a lockdown of an industrial area in Doha, where authorities reported dozens of cases of the disease.
  • Romania - Flights decreased by more than 80% & trains by 20%.
  • Russia - The government to ground all international flights from March 27. The government temporarily suspends all flights to and from Russia from April 4, including those repatriating residents.
  • Saudi Arabia - The government will be temporarily suspending all passenger flights from the United States to The Kingdom. Effective 16 March, all passenger flights from LAX, IAD, and JFK will be delayed for the next 15 days. They will continue to operate the weekly SV902 freighter from JFK to JED. There is also a possibility that they may work on additional charters. Lockdown has been enforced on the capital Riyadh and the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Customs continues to face delays in clearance. The government plans to ease curfew hours during the month of Ramadan. The government enforces 24-hour curfew during a 5 day holiday to stem the spread of COVID-19.
  • Serbia - Closed its borders for travelers from other countries affected by COVID-19.
  • Singapore - Has announced a closure of all non-essential businesses from April 7- May 4. Crane Worldwide's office will remain open and are dedicated to an essential service. Changi Airport to suspend the operation of terminal 2 for 18 months. The country extends partial lockdown measures until 01 June.
  • South Africa - Lockdown extended until April 30. The emergency level will decrease on May 1.
  • Spain - The government to extend the state of emergency until April 26. The government extends travel restriction and border closure until May 10. Government to introduce quarantine 15-24 May for arrivals from abroad in effort to curb spread of COVID-19.
  • Sweden - Passengers arriving from outside Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland (Rep.), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and United Kingdom are not allowed to enter; this does not apply to nationals or their family members. This does not apply to persons transporting goods. Commercial flight options to the United States remain available with United Airlines from Stockholm via Paris, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam.
  • Switzerland - Switzerland includes Spain in entry restrictions. This also applies with immediate effect to air traffic from Austria, France, Germany, and Italy.
  • Thailand - Authorities have closed their borders except for the Malaysian border. Border open for goods on four crossing points. Foreigners will be banned from entering the country under the emergency decree being invoked to combat at the coronavirus pandemic. The emergency decree went into effect on March 26 and remains in force through April 30. The order bans all foreigners from entry at all entry points - the exceptions being shippers, diplomats, drivers, pilots, and others permitted by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Phuket airport to close from April 10 until at least April 30.  Land & Sea borders are closed. Aviation authority extends the ban of all international flights until April 18.
  • UAE - Suspends all flights into and from Abu Dhabi. Dubai's Expo 2020 to be postponed. The six-month multibillion-dollar trade fair that organizers had hoped would attract 25 million visitors will not go ahead as scheduled in October. Dubai was pinning many of its economic forecasts on the trade it was expected to generate. Continue closure of commercial establishments until April 18. The closing of commercial establishments has been extended. Plans are in place to open Dubai to tourists as early as July.
  • Ukraine - Country completely closes state borders and blocks all passenger traffic.
  • United Kingdom - Has extended its country lockdown for another three weeks, announced April 16. All Crane Worldwide sites are operational, MAN, ABZ & LHR home working other than skeleton staff for specific functions. Warehouses remain fully functional. Haulage – services have been cut back to reduce risk to drivers; therefore next day deliveries can no longer be guaranteed, LHR haulers only offering either dedicated deliveries or 2 to 3-day service. All shipping personnel qualifies as crucial workers. London City airport to close until further notice. London Heathrow Airport to close one of its runways from 06 April due to a reduction in flights. Lockdown measures extended for three weeks. LHR to temporarily suspend operations in terminal 4 as of May 3. 14-day quarantine of people arriving into the United Kingdom will begin to avoid a second outbreak.
  • United States - In an unprecedented attempt to seal off the United States from the rest of the globe, President Donald Trump said he would temporarily suspend immigration into the country. CDC extends no sail order for all cruise ships. U.S./Mexico border and U.S./Canada border closed to all non-essential travel, trade, and commerce are exempted from the ban. U.S. suspended travel to the U.S. from Europe's Schengen Area for non-U.S. citizens and legal residents. Any US citizen or lawful U.S. permanent resident returning to the U.S. who has traveled to any of the EU Schengen Area States within the previous 14 days can only re-enter the US through one of the approved airports, foreign nationals have been within this area in the last 14 days will be unable to travel to the US. Approved airports are as follows; ATL, DFW, DTW, EWR, HNL, JFK, LAX ORD, SEA, SFO, IAD. New York's lockdown extended until May 15. Major airlines are beginning to implement new health and safety measures of PPE for their flight attendants. Delta, United Airlines, and American Airlines employees will be requested to wear face masks.
  • Venezuela - Customs Authority offices are slowing down their operations. Currently, they work until 2 pm on average. All orders are being processed under regular terms as long as proper documentation is provided accordingly. Main airports in Caracas, Valencia, and Barcelona are operative. Operation restricted until 2 pm average every day only for CAO. PAX not accepted.Ocean ports operating normally. There is commodity restriction for inland distribution: industrial products, raw materials, and fundamental basic needs (foods and medicines) are allowed. Truck appointments at the port are required with one day in advance. There are difficulties in providing the same day pick up. There is a gas shortage currently limiting equipment availability for internal transportation. Refineries stopped. General quarantine extended to April 30.
  • Vietnam - All foreigners denied entry (no crew change) still no guidance on whether the ban will extend after the 30 days (April 18). As of March 25, all non-essential business has been closed. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered the suspension of all international flights to Vietnam amidst restricted entry into the country by air, road, and sea. 
  • Zimbabwe - The government bans local and international travel as it declares a national disaster.

Land Borders

  • The UK government is expected to offer aid packages to ferry operators to ensure that they can maintain services as freight demand drops along with the loss of passenger travel. Freight routes between Europe and the United Kingdom and Ireland are a critical supply chain link and facilitate the supply of medical supplies. Last month Ireland allocated €15m (£13m) to buy capacity on various routes to ensure ferry operators stay open.
  • European road freight could contract 17% in 2020 The COVID-19 crisis gripping Europe could erase nearly one-fifth of the value of the region's road freight market in 2020 in a worst-case scenario, new research from Ti reveals, and a contraction of 4.8% 'now looks like a best-case scenario.
  • EU goods which are subject to Russian sanctions can now be transported from Europe to China by rail using electronic seals during transit through Russia. 
  • European road freight giant Waberer's struggles with COVID-19 cutbacks. Facing falling demand, the Hungarian group introduces 'special' measures, which include taking a "significant portion" of its truck fleet out of service with immediate effect, in "order to preserve the short-term financial stability of the company." The company has around 4,300 HGVs and employs more than 8,000 staff.

EU - issues guidelines to all member states on "green lanes." Four objectives to make real progress on EU roads. Even with these guidelines in place, the wait time is substantially high. 

  • Crossing the border to take a maximum of 15 minutes.
  • Green lanes must be open to vehicles carrying any type of goods.
  • Governments must suspend restrictions.
  • Less paperwork for transport workers
  • Sixfold have a free application that maps out European borders with vital information on crossing times https://covid-19.sixfold.com/.
  • The Bahraini authorities have closed the border crossing linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as of March 25. The anticipated reopening date is unknown at this time; however, cargo is still moving across the causeway, and this goes to all borders with Saudi, including the airport.

Here is a roundup of the position:

  • German Bavaria Borders to Austria - filtering system in place to separate cars for checks with goods vehicles being waved through, smaller delivery vehicles are being checked for passengers.
  • German Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland border into France - experiencing considerable waiting times, mainly due to the lack of infrastructure.
  • German Baden-Wuerttemberg into France - paper checks are typically conducted; however, the additional controls are having a massive impact on traffic flows with reported long delays of up to 3 hours.
  • Austria Brenner into Italy - backlog of around 80 kilometers of traffic passing into Austria
  • Poland-Czech Republic - borders becoming blocked as checks are conducted.
  • France-all internal and external borders - have controls in place that began March 17 to prevent entry to non-resident travelers; this includes all Schengen edges.
  • EU leaders plan to close external borders for 30 days to prevent the spread of the virus but establish fast-track lanes at their countries' frontiers to keep goods moving.
  • Finland - Border restrictions imposed. Passenger train service with Russia set to end. Goods and cargo transports will continue across all borders.

Not part of the Schengen Area

  • Moldova has closed Chisinau Airport and land borders with Romania and Ukraine
  • Austria - Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced plans to limit movement nationwide. He said people should go out "only alone or with the people who live in their apartment." Poland and Lithuania are also shutting their borders

 

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