April 16, 2020

Dear Valued Customer,

As societies around the world continue to struggle with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, we see a development towards some level of “new business normal” with companies across sectors having adjusted their business models and finding new and flexible ways of coping with especially lockdown restrictions. Similarly, there is a strong dedication to keeping the wheels turning throughout the transportation and logistics sector and new products, routings and solutions emerge as a result of this.

Lockdown remains in effect across the globe

The general situation is largely unchanged; however, we see first indications of a number of countries easing up on restrictions installed especially in Northern Europe. Countries such as Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany and Austria have all announced that a sequenced re-opening of the society will take place in the coming weeks, providing the first optimistic signs we are turning a sharp corner in the development of COVID-19 pandemic.

With this said a number of countries maintain a strict lockdown resulting in limitations to transport movement as well as delays are still to be expected across transport modes.

Here are some of examples of continued lockdown announced during the last week:

  • Japan has declared state of emergency until further notice
  • India has extended lockdown until May 3
  • Malaysia has pro-longed the border movement control until April 28.
  • The Philippines has extended lockdown until April 30.
  • Bangladesh has extended lockdown until April 25.
  • Myanmar is most likely extending the lockdown until April 30.
  • Cambodia has been in lockdown since last week

All travel between cities and provinces are banned, however we are in these countries still able to find ways of keeping cargo moving

  • Spain, Italy and France remain in 100 % lockdown with only critical and essential cargo being allowed to move.
  • US has stopped the movement of people, not goods. In all regions freight forwarding is still possible but with very limited connections.

Ocean freight impacted by continued blanking of sailings

Withdrawal of capacity on Asia-Europe and Transpacific has reached a staggering 3 mio. TEU as carriers continue to try and balance supply and demand. Up to 384 sailings have been cancelled, and alone within the last week another 83 cancellation were made giving testament to the critical situation. Some analysts project a total decline in demand of up to 6.4 TEU globally as a result of the society lockdown and restrictions imposed, leading to a dramatic drop in consumer spending.

Main concern continues to be the looming container congestion with containers starting to pile up at many ports, and this coming on top of the already existing issues with equipment imbalance.

Rate development remains somewhat stable during the last weeks, with export rates from Europe maintained at a high level sustaining the increases seen in February and March, while rates from Far East remains stable with a slight downward trend compared to same period last year.

Airfreight remains ever changing

Within airfreight we similarly continue to see extreme fluctuations on the rate side with the commercial airlines being more or less out of operation, while the freighter market is booming - however capacity remains scarce. Sea/air solutions continue to develop at a rapid pace as shippers and consignees look towards alternative solutions.

With no signs of commercial airlines commencing normal operations we expect this situation to continue in the weeks to come, but we wish to firmly stress that we are finding solutions for all requests so far.

The wheels keep rolling on the roads

In Europe, minor disruptions occur, but overall the movement of goods is proceeding as planned. Some disruptions and slowdowns are experienced due to increased border control, sanitary measures and special arrangements when unloading cargo.

The European Commission has proposed the designation of Green Lanes at the borders for the transport of goods and we await the answer. Read the letter proposal here.

The alternative green route

Rail freight never sleeps and continues to be a reliable and competitive alternative to ocean freight and airfreight. We experience no hindrances in cargo move and trains are crossing borders from continent to continent as well as country to country without issues.

For further details on specific countries and mode of transport, see our overview here.

All information in this advisory is offered to the best of our knowledge and is prone to change.