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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Update

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.

September 8, 2021: Updates in "Impact on Sea Logistics Asia Pacific".
September 9, 2021: Updates in "Impact on Air Logistics Asia Pacific (operations resumed)".

After a year, 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 spread and consequences of COVID-19 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.

Our staff are successfully working from home where deemed necessary by local circumstances.

In regards to risk of virus on packages and pallets we receive and deliver, we deem the risk low, following WHO statement of "The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low."

As a global logistics company, we are facing supply chain disruptions on a regular basis. We adapt continuously our global standards of business continuity management and test our Business Continuity Plans addressing different crisis scenarios. 

They are designed to protect the safety and wellbeing of our employees and to ensure an uninterrupted service for our customers. In respect of the magnitude of the COVID-19 effect, we are executing new and continuous risk assessments, business impact analysis and implementing new measures into our business continuity framework based on alert levels.

All countries have established national response teams in order to either prepare for, or execute activation of these plans.

Where deemed appropriate by our national management teams and where required by governmental decrees, we activate preventive measures and processes, which include temperature control of employees and visitors (within the parameters set by locally applicable laws such as data protection laws), self-declarations, segregated/flexi work arrangements, options to work from home, the sanitisation of our offices and sites, and the provision of essential hygiene products at workplaces. Standard processes have also been defined in case of staff being infected or exposed to people who are infected.

We are sharing hygienic guidelines with our suppliers to ensure greater awareness within the supply chain.  Drivers arriving for collection or delivery undergo a briefing on hygienic best practices, and where permissible, are instructed to fill out self-declarations.

We have implemented global travel restrictions and external and internal meetings are either conducted as video conferences, or only in the presence of a small number of participants observing social distancing recommendations as issued by public health authorities.

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.

We remain focused on taking care of our business and customers and our logistics operations remain fully operational throughout the region. In general, the ports are operational, but delays may occur in the terminals due to reduced staff, reduced attention hours and local quarantine measures.  We see medium impacts on equipment availability – especially reefer containers. Brazil is still in partial quarantine, coming back in different steps according to the governments definitions. In the Andean region, the road logistics is also normal with restrictions in some areas with focused immobilization.

Overall the number of confirmed cases in Europe has slightly increased since July. Most countries show a positive trend, whereas in others governments defined severe measures to contain the spreading. 

All Kuehne+Nagel sites established hygienic and social distancing rules to protect employees and business partners entering our facilities. Risk assessments are carried out on an ongoing basis and best practices are successfully shared and implemented within the organisation. A significant number of customers expressed their gratitude for the excellent service level offered despite the crisis situation and disruption of infrastructure in given markets.    

With the re-opening of economy, there is resurgence of COVID-19 cases reported in some countries. Ongoing reinforcement of strict measures are re-introduced by different governments. We continue to remain vigilant on the situation and adjust our work arrangement accordingly without impact to business continuity.

A calibrated and slow approach is planned for the return of employees to the workplace given the continuing volatile situation. At workplace, safe distance measures and other ongoing preventive measures are implemented to ensure a safe working environment. 

In varying degree, our colleagues are returning to the offices and/or warehouses under strict new procedures based on local risk assessments, capabilities and governmental advice. Countries are fully operational, with some delays and alternative procedures due to governmental restrictions.

Impact on Sea Logistics

The situation in each country is evolving daily as the authorities extend or relax restrictions. 

In general, the situation has become more stable and predictable, and worldwide the effects of COVID-19 are decreasing from week to week. Equipment availability, space, and blanked vessel sailings remain to have an impact on the overall situation.

Our local experts are at your full disposal to assist and support you with your specific requirements.

Our sea logistics operations in the US and Canada are fully functional with no impact from COVID-19. The main CFS gateways in US are operating normally. Port congestion and inland transport challenges result from the current strong American market demand and the overall tense situation on the sea freight market. 

Mexico still extends the lockdown, which affects inland connections from the ports. 

There are currently no major restrictions on sea logistics operations due to COVID-19. The offices are still handling business, but with reduced staff or in home office mode. The ports are operational, but there are delays and congestion 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 and Uruguay extended current international travel restrictions and domestic preventative measures. Borders are closed for travel, but international cargo, medical and humanitarian transport are exempt. Truck drivers and vessel crews may be subject to enhanced screening measures. Vessel operations are normal.

Bolivia and Peru suspended most COVID-19 restrictions. Still, delivery from ports is impacted as bordering countries have maintained closure of their land borders. 
In Chile, all ports are in operation, but there is some congestion.

Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama report normal operations. 

The ongoing after-effects of recent major events, such as the closure of the Suez Canal and South and East China ports, continue to strain the supply chain in addition to the impact of COVID-19.  

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

Malaysia: The nationwide lockdown in Malaysia is leading to a reduction in production capacity, resulting in a backlog of orders. Affected sectors include electronics, semiconductors and medical devices. Labour shortages and operational challenges are expected to cause supply chain disruptions. 

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

Bangladesh: Ships in Chittagong are experiencing significant berthing delays of between 5 and 10 days.   

There are currently no major restrictions on operations due to the Coronavirus. However, the continuing high demand across the globe as well as ongoing equipment imbalances and restructuring measures of carriers lead to congestions in all major European ports and thus in substantially increased lead times. 

In Egypt, the economy is 100% open. There is a shortage of equipment and space in Egypt due to the previous disruption of supply chains by COVID-19-in combination with the Suez Canal incident, in addition to the empty sailings from Asia. Some shipping companies are still working split shifts.

In Turkey, economic activities continue undisturbed and there are only minor operational problems that do not negatively affect overall performance. Nevertheless, the following issues need to be considered and normalcy should be seen as the "new normal": Equipment and space problems have improved but are still the main factors for the bottlenecks that have occurred. Therefore, all parties involved (ports, customs, freight forwarders, customers and Kuehne+Nagel) continue to work under "new normal" conditions.

South Africa issued lockdown level 3. Most notable businesses impacted by the lockdown are the restaurant and alcohol industry. Civil unrests continue in various parts of Kwazulu Natal and Gauteng. Transport from/to Durban has been suspended. Most container and consolidation depots in Durban and Johannesburg are closed. Port operations are severely impacted. Kuehne+Nagel employees are working from home and 100% operational. Our warehouse facilities have to work on skeleton staff.  

The ports in U.A.E are operating normally and do not face congestion or delays. Restrictions on domestic road freight have been lifted, except for light vehicles to and from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. A Covid-19 test is required to enter the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Independent of Covid-19, volumes are picking up. Equipment shortages and booking confirmation delays are expected to continue for the coming month. 


Impact on Air Logistics

The North American region continues to be impacted by the pandemic. While the US is in various stages to re-open and lift restrictions, governments in Canada and Mexico continue to uphold strict measures to fight the pandemic. Our approach to work from home, re-opening offices where possible, and fully functional warehouses allow us to continue to fully operate and provide service to all customers. As travel restrictions across the world are just being lifted, and more flights return into service, routes and flight frequencies are expected to remain below pre-pandemic levels in the coming months. All our teams are available and committed to work with all of our customers to find the most suitable transportation solution.

The frequency of international passenger flights offered by the local carriers is still impacted.. The overall operational status of airports, truckers and customs is stable, with all our Air Logistics branches reliably operating in a home office mode.

As the virus surges, our air freight operations in Europe continue running, mostly in the home-office setup.The challenging situation in Sea Logistics is putting additional pressure on some of the most demanded trade-lanes, even though the demand for PPE has slightly decreased.The demand for air freight to North America and South Africa is still high while capacities remain constraint. The situation towards Middle East and South America keeps being stable. In order to further mitigate supply-chain risks on mission-critical markets, we have expanded the air freight product portfolio with a reliable capacity to serve customers in time. Driven by the increasing ecommerce sector, extra flights are offered to indirect hubs in Zhengzhou and Nanchang.

The operational situation in Middle East and Africa remains stable and sound, and countries adapt seamlessly to any Covid-19 related impact. Most countries have returned to office, at capacity levels in accordance with local regulations.

As countries ease restrictions, regional and international carriers are re-establishing, increasing capacities and frequencies, however, still below 2019 levels. Major markets like the UK, India and South Africa continue to be served by limited PAX freighters, but the overall environment remains favourable for cargo. Cargo capacity with both African and Middle Eastern carriers remains constricted.

Pressure on capacity caused by limited passenger flight activity is seen in the majority of South Asia Pacific countries. Some countries face ongoing cases of Covid-19, which has led to further restrictions and partial lockdowns.

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 expect there will still be a significant imbalance of demand and available capacity in the market in the months to come. 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.

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.

Impact on Road Logistics

We take this opportunity to thank our drivers, who are tirelessly collecting and delivering shipments under challenging conditions. We also extend our thanks to our customers and recipients of shipments who allow our drivers access to their restrooms. We truly appreciate those who go out of their way to help our drivers do a great job. By all of us working together and showing respect to each other, we jointly contribute to keeping our supply chains afloat.

Like European overland markets, the Kuehne+Nagel network is facing less restrictions compared to the spring period last year. The development on an overall European scale however is rather volatile 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.

Trucking services in China are back to normal. Cross-border trucking to and from Hong Kong (SAR, China) and the China/Vietnam border (Pingxiang border) is now operating as per normal. Additionally, operation at the Vietnam and Laos/Cambodia border as well as domestic transportation within Vietnam are also back to normal.

For Thailand, domestic and cross-border movement for commercial and essential goods between Thailand and Myanmar/Laos/Cambodia is allowed. 
All drivers need to undergo health 

For cross-border trucking to Central Asian countries and Europe, there is heavy congestion at China/Kazakhstan border (Horgos and Alashankou borders) due to the preventative control measures for COVID-19. 
Similarly, trucking  to Europe via the China/Russia route (Manzhouli border) is also experiencing face the same issue due to the increased control measures implemented. 

The Malaysian government has announced Movement Control Order (MCO) starting January 13, 2021 for two weeks. At the same time, the authorities has declared State of Emergency. This is expected to last until August 1, 2021.  Movement of goods in and out of the country must adhere to the MCO standard operating procedure. We do not see any impact on domestic and cross border transportation.

In Japan, government has announced Second State of Emergency, which is expected to last until mid-February.

The Indian Government has announced the Unlock 5.0 guidelines with effect from October 1, 2020. Several restrictions have eased out with the lockdown decisions to be decided by the state/provinces. This has no impact on domestic transportation.

The situation and border control measures in most of these countries are evolving rapidly as the COVID-19 situation continues to change. We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide further updates on this page.    

US, Canada and Mexico border restrictions only impact "non-essential" travel and do not apply to the transportation of goods and services. Stay-at-home orders around the country are being lifted in some states and extended in others, however these measures are not directed at commercial truck traffic. Check with individual partners on their operation status prior to shipping because nearly all LTL carriers will be returning freight immediately (<1 day) after a refusal due to a closed consignee. Cargo cannot be held at the destination due to large volumes of undeliverable freight resulting in additional charges.

US domestic truckload capacity is tightening, but federal and state governments are committed to keeping the supply chain moving. The majority of LTL and Small package carriers will suspend physical signatures. In adherence to the “Social Distancing” policy, drivers will not be obtaining signatures from consignees. Drivers will record the exact time, note any exceptions and obtain the name of the person who is accepting the freight. As spot market truckload rates rise to highly affected areas, less drivers are willing to take loads into these areas forcing the ad hoc rates to climb. Urgent orders of retail goods drive rates up for van and reefer equipment. Retailers, including e-commerce outlets, rely increasingly on spot market providers to re-stock shelves immediately, while truckers report long wait times at pickup and delivery points.

Alternative solutions for shipments

We remain committed to serving our valued customers. Besides working closely with carrier partners to provide solutions for urgent shipments, we have also activated alternative transport modes and route solutions to support your business needs.


Working closely with our key airline partners, our Air Logistics experts maintain regular space allocations on major Asian and Translantantic routes and have established additional weekly charter rotations to service both markets for urgent supply needs. A weekly fixed operating schedule and new charter movements on high demand trade lanes will help to avoid production and supply chain delays, and ensure the continuation of your operations caused by present and future implications of the „Coronavirus“ outbreak.

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 existing capacity constraints 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.


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.