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Service Announcement Australia | Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

Posted on 30 April 2020

We are seeing restrictions in Australia beginning to ease, with many businesses now starting to return to normal operations. At Mainfreight our branches remain open and operational, however we are still taking precautions to protect our team, customers and the community.

We will continue to keep a close eye on all global developments and will update this page with any relevant information as it surfaces.

Market Updates Australia

Our first priority is keeping our team safe and doing all we can to keep products moving. Although the challenges throughout our markets are present, all of our branches globally remain operational and here to assist. We will release market updates as new information becomes available. The most recent news on each service can be found below. 

Air & Ocean | 30 April 2020

30th April 2020 Update:

This week we have seen further positive developments in the global response to the COVID–19 pandemic.

Globally a wide range of social restrictions remain in effect, although governments around the world have begun the process of scaling back those measures, while introducing stimulus to their domestic economies.

In all 26 countries where Mainfreight has a presence, we continue to find the movement of cargo to be unrestricted, with volumes increasing, both domestically and internationally.

Australia

We are seeing some positive comments from the Government and Territories in Australia regarding the easing of restrictions in the coming weeks.

Good news of calming global restrictions and local government support for agriculture and medical industries has provided an environment for more cost effective air freight options. To help reduce costs and transit times, our team have created ship and air hubs for movements of LCL and air products.

To discuss solutions for any air, ocean, wharf, warehousing or domestic transportation needs, speak with our team today.

New Zealand

The commercial trading environment in New Zealand under Alert Level 3 has sparked into life with over 96% of Mainfreight Air & Ocean import and export customers reporting they are open for business.

Also positive is the improving outlook for air freight, with announcements this week from Air New Zealand, Air Canada, and China Airlines of an increase in scheduled international flights.

The New Zealand sea freight environment is less volatile in comparison, with services largely delivering capacity which is meeting current demand. We do see a degree of blank sailings occurring while shipping lines adjust schedules to match bookings in the short term.

For customers that had containers arrive into New Zealand during Level 4, it is important to be aware of detention costs as shipping line measures to waive fees expire. Please check in with your local Mainfreight team if you have any concerns in this area.

Europe

Our team across Europe report an improving and optimistic trading environment, with all branches open and operating normally, as they have done throughout the various lockdown measures throughout the region.

Most EU governments are signalling positive movement toward restrictions being reduced in the majority of markets.

Giorgio Mongeri, Branch Manager of Mainfreight Milan, reported the re–opening of public construction in Italy, along with automotive plants and other manufacturing activities. He tells us from May 4th all industrial and commercial activity can resume, with people allowed to circulate within their own region. May 18th will see retail outlets re–opening, with barber shops, restaurants and bars following on June 1st.

Air freight capacity ex Europe to Australia and New Zealand is improving with capacity opening on several airlines. Rates remain under upward pressure, although more favourable routing options are emerging, which should see rates stabilise, and then reduce in the medium term.

For a live update on waiting times being experienced by our drivers at European borders, please click here.

We would like to remind you that our teams across Europe are approaching the May European holiday period. Branch closures are listed below:

  • Belgium & Germany: Closed on 1st and 21st of May.
  • France: Closed on 1st, 8th and 21st of May.
  • Italy, Poland, Romania and Spain: Closed on 1st of May.
  • The Netherlands: Closed on 5th and 21st of May.
  • United Kingdom: Closed on 8th and 25th of May.
  • Russia: Closed on 1st to 5th of May and 11th of May.
  • Ukraine: Closed on 1st and 11th of May.

Asia

Our branches across Asia remain open and operational despite ongoing social restrictions resulting in the closure of many businesses.

In China, the transport of cargo continues to operate without interruption. Demand for air freight into and out of China has continued to increase. There is also reported congestion around Shanghai airport due to the lead of the Labor Holiday period which will take place from May 1st to May 5th.

Japan has announced their state of emergency has been extended and will apply to the whole country until the 6th of May, 2020. Similarly, Singapore has also announced an extension to their "Circuit–Breaker" measures through until June 1st.

Trade in India remains largely suspended, although we continue to be successful in the movement of air freight consignments into and out of India.

The Americas

Our teams across Northern and Southern America are reporting that "stay at home" orders are beginning to be relaxed or lifted, while cargo, as previously reported, has continued to move freely.

Consistent with other parts of the world, demand for air freight capacity has increased. Our Mainfreight USA Air Freight teams have maintained contracted services out of the major world gateways into the USA, and have introduced regular trans–Pacific charter flights.

 

Cargo continues to move successfully around the world, with demand for both air and sea freight capacity increasing as social restrictions begin to be wound back. In this period communication remains vital to ensuring that we are able to deliver solutions which support ongoing business recovery and development.

Air cargo capacity is accessible on almost all trade lanes with a mix of charter and commercial freighter services well established. We expect further development in this area in coming days.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your local branch.

For the latest updates from around the world go to our COVID-19 Global Updates news article

23rd April 2020 Update:

Globally there is a wide range of social restrictions in place as governments around the world manage their domestic situations.
In all 26 countries where Mainfreight has a presence, we continue to find the movement of cargo to be largely unrestricted, both domestically and across borders.
This week we have seen positive developments in New Zealand's response to the COVID–19 Pandemic.'

Australia

Conditions in Australia remain unchanged this week although we expect to see some easing of restrictions take place over the coming weeks.

While the situation remains dynamic so too are the solutions our teams are putting together. To discuss solutions for any air, ocean, wharf, warehousing or domestic transportation needs, speak with our team today.

New Zealand

On Monday 20th April, the New Zealand Government announced a move from COVID–19 Alert Level 4 to Level 3 on Monday 27th April at 11.59pm. The elimination of COVID–19 remains at the forefront of this decision and future considerations. The country will hold at Alert Level 3 for two weeks, and this will be reassessed by Cabinet on Monday 11th May.

The Mainfreight transport team have expanded our capacity to service an increase in home deliveries under Alert Level 3, in line with the Government allowing additional categories of business to operate. The specialist nature of a home delivery requires broader delivery–time tolerances, due to increased customer requirements.

We expect Monday's announcement of the move to Alert Level 3 will invigorate import activity, with air freight demand in particular already increasing. Fortunately this comes at a time where options are widening across both commercial and chartered flights into the country.

Europe

The Mainfreight team across Europe report a trading environment similarly positioned to previous weeks, with all branches open and operating normally.
There is optimism emerging although most countries remain under various lock down restrictions until the end of April or early May. Most EU governments are signalling decisions will then be made regarding the next steps, with expectations of restrictions being reduced in the majority of markets.

For a live update on waiting times being experienced by our drivers at European borders, please click here.
We remind customers and partners that we are coming into the May European holiday period. Details are listed below:

  • Belgium & Germany: Closed on 1st and 21st of May.
  • France: Closed on 1st, 8th and 21st of May.
  • Italy, Poland, Romania and Spain: Closed on 1st of May.
  • The Netherlands: Closed on 5th and 21st of May.
  • United Kingdom: Closed on 8th and 25th of May.
  • Russia: Closed on 1st to 5th of May and 11th of May.
  • Ukraine: Closed on 1st and 11th of May.

Asia

Our branches across Asia remain open and operational despite ongoing social restrictions resulting in the closure of many businesses.

Japan has announced their state of emergency has been extended and will apply to the whole country until the 6th of May, 2020. Similarly, Singapore has also announced an extension to their "Circuit–Breaker" measures through until June 1st.

There is also reported congestion around Shanghai airport due to the lead of the Labor Holiday period which will take place from May 1st to May 5th.

Trade in India remains largely suspended, although we continue to be successful in the movement of air freight consignments into and out of India.

The Americas

All of our branches across the Americas remain open and fully functional; our warehouses are working as normal, and our trucks continue to deliver product to our customers with consumables and health–related products dominating FTL and LTL loads.

 

While cargo continues to move successfully around the world, the importance of communication remains, ensuring that we are able to manage freight already in motion and facilitate final delivery.
Air cargo capacity continues to be accessible on most trade lanes as a mix of charter and commercial freighter services are established.

We strongly encourage our customers to talk with their local Mainfreight teams as they plan for the next few weeks. We have available infrastructure and storage capacity in all markets to assist.

We wish to thank our customers for their ongoing support as our team work to navigate the disruptions imposed by COVID–19. Further updates will be provided in the event of any clarification or expansion to Government's COVID–19 policy.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your local branch.

17th April 2020 updates:

Despite the ever changing COVID-19 restrictions around the globe, our branches remain open and operational. Since our update on Tuesday there have been minimal changes within the business environment.

New Zealand has seen some adjustments to permitted freight movements, with non-essential items that were in transit prior to the Alert Level 4 lock down now able to be delivered. This positive movement is expected to be the start of a focus to move towards the re-opening of more New Zealand business. Further government announcements are expected on Monday the 20th of April.

Australia

Conditions remain unchanged from our previous announcement with Level 3 restrictions still in place.

The ATO has however announced increased automation capabilities to aid the processing of increased deferred goods and services tax (DGST) scheme applications.

Deferral of GST

The deferred goods and services tax (DGST) scheme allows an importer to defer payment of GST on all taxable importations into Australia. Once approved, the import GST otherwise payable at the border is deferred until the 21st of the following month. In the current environment the ATO confirmed receipt of significantly increased number applications for DGST registration and have increased automated capabilities that should process up to 500 DGST applications per day. For further details on deferral of GST, click here.

Asia, Europe & The Americas

Although social restrictions have resulted in the closure of many businesses across Asia, Europe and The Americas our branches remain open and operational. Conditions in these areas remain unchanged from our announcement on Tuesday with freight continuing to move where possible. 

New Zealand

Last night New Zealand’s Ministry of Transport released details that will allow our team to deliver essential freight and non–essential freight that is already in the transport system. The intention of the refinement is to clear the system so essential freight can move as freely as possible.

This does not change the trading restrictions on non–essential businesses, who remain unable to open under Alert Level 4, except to receive goods.

An announcement is expected on Monday 20 April as to when the country will move to Alert Level 3. In essence, Level 3 introduces opportunity to open new services for essential and non–essential freight to residential and business addresses. As supporting detail is released over coming days we will provide further commentary to assist our customers with their planning requirements.
As focus moves towards the re–opening of more New Zealand businesses, we look forward to providing options which will assist our customers resume successful trading as quickly as possible.

 

14th April 2020 update:

Over the Easter break we have seen continuing developments around the globe. Some countries have moved towards extending COVID-19 restrictions whist other regions are moving towards relaxing commercial restrictions in an effort to stimulate trade.

All of our Mainfreight branches in Europe, Asia, The Americas and Australasia, continue to be open and fully operational as outlined in our COVID–19 updates previously.

It remains a dynamic international air and sea freight environment, however as reported last week, options have emerged and continue to do so as carriers adjust to changes in demand and capacity.

Australia

As an essential service provider our Transport, Air & Ocean, and Warehousing teams across Australia remain operational. State restrictions have resulted in a gradual closure of some businesses, however the movement of cargo remains unaffected and volumes have been comparable to previous years.

As part of our ongoing efforts to minimise any unnecessary “personal contact” and non-essential travel risks we have had to cease our depot freight collection option for customers with immediate effect. More information surrounding these measures can be found by clicking here.

New Zealand

As outlined in last week's update, our team in New Zealand continues to see clarity emerging in both the air and sea freight markets servicing New Zealand importers and exporters.

Air freight capacity in the short term is available, with charter space accessible most days between New Zealand and northern China, while options continue to emerge on other key trade-lanes including Australia and North America.

Asia

In China, transport of cargo around the mainland continues to operate almost without interruption, including inter–city movements. Demand for air freight into and out of China continues, although the increased regulation around PPE introduced over Easter is expected to moderate this in the short term. We continue to see patchy forward bookings as consignees around the world become unable to receive delivery, in the short term, due to local restrictions.

Cargo–only air freight services are increasing as indicated in earlier updates. The re–purpose of aircraft for charter has become commonplace, although rate levels are inconsistent.
Our teams in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan report an increase in restrictions, resulting in most businesses closing. Japan has declared a state of emergency in 9 prefectures including Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Osaka, Hyogo, Ishikawa, Hokkaido and Fukuoka.

Under the one–month Japanese state of emergency, each prefecture has authority to control hospitals, medical equipment supply, schools, social welfare service facilities, retailers and entertainment facilities.

Trade in India remains suspended as ports, airports, government border agencies, and transport providers are included in the lock down currently in place, operating with 5% staffing levels. We however continue to be successful in the movement of air freight consignments into and out of India.

Europe

Throughout Europe, the situation remains similar to that reported last week, with further tightening of social and commercial regulation to limit personal interaction.

The movement of cargo within, or into, the European Union, remains unobstructed. For a live update on waiting times being experienced by our drivers at European borders, please click here.

The Americas

Our teams across North and South America are reporting that "stay at home" orders continue to be imposed or extended. Borders between the USA, Mexico, and Canada have closed to non'residents. Cargo, as reported last week, continues to move freely.

6th April 2020 Update:

Over the weekend we have seen further developments globally as COVID–19 infections have continued to rise and central governments have taken additional reactive measures.

Mainfreight team members around the world have been working with our innovative and adaptable customers to put together solutions, keeping their supply chains operational, helping them take opportunities where they emerge in this changeable market, or simply providing options to mitigate the potential for additional cost.

All Mainfreight branches in Europe, Asia, The Americas and Australasia, continue to be open and fully operational as outlined in our COVID–19 updates last week.

Australia

The situation in Australia remains similar to that reported last week.

We are seeing a continued increase in air freight capacity now available in Australia with more freighter flights scheduled and an increasing number of cargo only passenger flights being made available across the country. Unfortunately without the benefit of paying passengers the cargo rates remain volatile for these services.

Sea freight services remain steady and containers especially from China are operating almost without interruption.

Our teams in Mainfreight Transport, Air & Ocean, and our Warehousing branches across Australia remain operational. State restrictions have resulted in a gradual closure of some businesses, mostly in those industries currently deemed non-essential, including catering, retail and fitness. The movement of cargo remains unaffected.

Our Mainfreight, Owens and Chemcouriers transport teams are able to complete deliveries and collections between states and locally, whilst following all recommended COVID-19 guidelines. We are working with customers to understand their operational status and providing options where they are unable to receive deliveries.

New Zealand

With 12 days now completed under the Stage 4 lockdown environment, we have seen further clarity emerge in both the air and sea freight markets servicing New Zealand importers and exporters.

Air freight capacity to service our customers in the short term is now in place, with charter space available most days between New Zealand and northern China, while options are also emerging on other key trade–lanes.

The approach that NZ is taking in its lockdown is causing problems for businesses trying to make a distinction between essential and non-essential business and freight. While it has been clarified by the Ministry of Transport that we can deliver imported containers to ATF (approved) sites. Only essential goods are able to be unpacked. Shipping lines in most cases have only extended detention-free periods until April 23. Should the NZ Government extend lockdown until after this date, it is uncertain what position shipping lines will take in regard to detention fees.

Storage, until your business can reopen to receive cargo, is available in most locations, including at our specialist Dangerous Goods sites in Auckland and Christchurch.

Asia

Consistent with feedback from our Mainfreight team in mainland China last week, we have seen an increase in demand for many Australian–made products as both commerce and consumer buying behaviour returns to normal. Supporting this, air freight capacity from Australia to China has increased.

Transport of cargo around China continues to operate almost without interruption, including inter–city movements.

Government imposed border restrictions remain in place to ensure China avoids a second wave of imported COVID-19 infections, putting pressure on inbound passenger flight services. Cargo–only services are not impacted and capacity on these freighter flights is increasing. The re-purpose of aircraft for charter has become commonplace, however rate levels to secure cargo space remain volatile.

Our teams in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and South Korea all advise that they remain operational and open as normal. Social measures are in effect in several countries, however to date they have not impacted cargo movement.

Trade in India has been largely halted as ports, airports, government border agencies, and transport providers are included in the lock down currently in place. We were however successful in moving air freight consignments into and out of India last week.

Europe

Throughout Europe, the situation remains similar to that reported last week, albeit with a further tightening of social and commercial regulation to limit personal interaction.

Our Mainfreight teams in Spain and Italy report no change in previously advised restrictions. Non–essential businesses are largely closed, with demand reduced as a result. Ports, airports and logistics providers remain operational, with our team working to the same capacity as last week.

Russia has extended its nationwide lockdown over the weekend to the end of April, however our team remains 100% operational from remote locations. Ports and other supply chain infrastructure at this time also remain operational.

Our teams report a slowing in commercial activity across Europe consistent with the additional government measures being introduced. As with Russia, several countries have indicated further restrictions are likely and/or an extension to their lockdown periods.

Our European road transport teams continue to operate with only minor delays at border crossings. For a live update on waiting times being experienced by our drivers at European borders, please click here.

The Americas

Our team in North America reports that efforts to contain COVID–19 are increasing with quite significant impact in several cities, including New York. The US Government last week extended "stay at home" orders until April 30th across the country, while borders between the USA, Mexico, and Canada have closed to non residents. Cargo however continues to move freely.

All of our branches across the Americas remain open and fully functional; our warehouses are functioning as normal, and our trucks continue to deliver product to our customers and into communities.

1st April 2020 Update:

Since our last update, there have been no major changes to our global service offerings as we continue to operate as an essential service provider in all 26 countries in which we have a physical presence. Although our services remain unchanged, there have however been a number of developments in several countries as local governments continue to increase their efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.

At this stage, international borders remain open for freight and cargo in all but a couple of countries, India being one.

Air freight globally continues to redevelop, with services becoming more dependent on freight–only scheduled and charter services. Rate volatility is a feature of this new landscape, although we are hopeful this will become more consistent as we move towards more scheduled services.

Sea freight is less changeable, although reduced demand is driving an increase in port omissions and blank sailings. This appears principally in markets where production and/or consumption is impacted by social isolation measures, much as we see in New Zealand where a lockdown is in place for all but very defined essential services.

Australia

Our Transport, Air & Ocean, and our Warehousing teams across Australia remain operational. Recently announced state restrictions have resulted in a gradual closure of retail outlets and some businesses.

Air freight capacity into and out of Australia is starting to improve with many of the airlines increasing their existing freighter services. We are also seeing more airlines scheduling passenger planes for cargo only flights servicing Melbourne and Sydney.

Sydney is becoming the main hub for these cargo flights for the whole country. Our team have developed a special integrated service to move your goods to and from all areas of Australia to link with the appropriate flights in Sydney. Our transport network across Australia enables this express service transport for all your LCL airfreight needs. Talk to our team at your local Mainfreight branch who will find the best solution for you.

There are currently no barriers to sea freight and we are seeing containers again arriving from China in even greater numbers. Talk to our team about options for storage should you need it.

Our Mainfreight, Owens and Chemcouriers transport teams remain able to complete deliveries and collections between states and locally, whilst following all recommended COVID–19 guidelines.

New Zealand

As highlighted in our previous updates, development has been ongoing around a number of initiatives which will provide support for air freight users into and out of New Zealand in the short and medium term.

Our team in New Zealand are successfully finding space for key origins and destinations, and are expecting to add more charter services in the coming weeks.

Sea freight in New Zealand has been demand led in regards to schedule changes, while shipping lines, the ports and government agencies have provided more information on the options available to shippers and importers.

We continue to work through shipments, due to depart or arrive in the next four weeks, with those customers involved. Import deliveries and export collections are being completed where the collection or receiving address is accessible.

Storage until customers business can reopen to receive cargo is available in most locations, including at our specialist Dangerous Goods sites in Auckland and Christchurch.

Asia

Our team across our 14 branches in China report gathering pace around commercial activity with production almost back to 100% and demand for import and export shipping capacity increasing.

Transport of cargo around China is operating almost without interruption, including inter–city movements.

Government imposed border restrictions have tightened as previously advised, putting pressure on inbound passenger flight services. Cargo–only services are not impacted and capacity on these freighter flights is increasing as more airlines offer re-purposed aircraft for charter, however rate levels to secure confirmed cargo space remain volatile.

Our teams in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and South Korea all advise that they remain operational and open as normal. Social measures are in effect in several countries, however to date they have not impacted cargo movement.

Trade in India has been largely halted as ports, airports, government border agencies, and transport providers are included in the lock down currently in place.

Europe

Throughout Europe, the situation remains very similar to that reported in Monday's update.

Our team in Madrid, Spain are seeing similar restrictions being introduced to those in effect in Italy. Non-essential businesses are largely closed, with demand reducing dramatically as a result. Ports, airports and logistics providers remain operational, with our team working to the same capacity as last week.

As previously advised, Russia has moved into nationwide lock down this week, with our team now 100% operational from remote locations. Ports and other supply chain infrastructure at this time remain operational.

Across the 11 countries we operate in throughout Europe, our teams report a slowing in commercial activity consistent with government measures in effect.

Our European road transport teams continue to operate with only minor delays at border crossings. For a live update on waiting times being experienced by our drivers at European borders, please click here.

North America

Our teams in North and South America report that efforts to contain COVID–19 are becoming more apparent. In the USA, positive tests have surpassed 150,000, resulting in the US Government extending the "stay at home" order until April 30th across the country. The borders between the USA, Mexico, and Canada have closed to non–residents, although cargo continues to move freely.

All of our branches across the Americas remain open and fully functional; our warehouses are functioning as normal, and our trucks continue to deliver product to our customers and into communities.

 

Government imposed social health measures around the world have necessitated adjustment in the way trade is facilitated, and our teams operate. We continue to see support from central governments in the regions where we have a presence, to protect the consistency of cargo movement.

Clarity is beginning to emerge around the available capacity and structure of air freight services for the next 4 weeks, and beyond. Our Mainfreight teams around the world are finding air cargo solutions, and we expect further stability in the market as freighter services come on stream.

We encourage our customers to keep talking with their local Mainfreight teams to manage freight already in motion. As outlined earlier we have available infrastructure and team to assist through this period.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your local branch.

30th March 2020 Update:

Borders internationally remain open for trade, with only India the exception at the time of writing. Our teams in all 26 countries where we have a presence have been able to operate effectively.

Sea ports and shipping schedules globally continue to operate, albeit with some blank sailings or port omissions.

Air freight capacity on scheduled passenger services continues to diminish, however new cargo-only flights are being offered widely, providing options for Mainfreight customers.

The updates and insights we have received over the weekend from our team are detailed below:

Australia

Our teams across our Transport, Air & Ocean, and Warehousing branches remain operational.

There are currently no barriers to sea freight and we are seeing containers again arriving from China in large numbers. Talk to our team about options for storage should you need it.

Air freight remains the greatest challenge for importers and exporters and we are working with our partner airlines to open up even more options in the future. During the crisis Sydney will become the air freight gateway for most cargo flights in and out of Australia. Our domestic national LCL network is well placed to get your freight where it needs to be nationally. Talk to our team and we can help you find the best solution.

Despite border closures, as an essential service provider our interstate vehicles and our local trucks are continuing with pick-ups and deliveries. Our team is following all the recommended guidelines to ensure our team members, and those customers being delivered to or from, are protected and remain healthy and safe.

New Zealand

As passenger flights have been removed from airline schedules over the last several weeks, a picture is emerging of what the air cargo environment servicing New Zealand will look like in the short term.

As highlighted in our previous updates, development is ongoing around a number of initiatives which will provide support for air freight users into and out of New Zealand. Mainfreight continues to work with our partner air lines and will provide clarity in the coming days.

We have also successfully implemented several sea/air multi-modal solutions for customers on longer trade routes, particularly Europe to New Zealand. This approach delivers a reduction in total transit time of more than 20 days against a similar sea freight service, whilst mitigating the full cost impact of an air freight only routing.

With regard to sea freight in New Zealand, we have seen further feedback from shipping lines, the ports and government agencies today, providing more information on the options available to shippers and importers.

We continue to work through shipments due to depart or arrive in the next four weeks with those customers involved. Import deliveries and export collections continue to be completed where the collection or receiving address is accessible.

Centreport in Wellington, the Port of Tauranga & Metroport, and the Ports of Auckland, have indicated reductions or waiver of demurrage charges for containers unable to be uplifted within the standard 3 days of free time on port.

Among the shipping lines servicing New Zealand, Maersk, Hamburg, PIL and OOCL have confirmed an extension to detention-free periods for containers impacted by the COVID–19 measures in April.

For Mainfreight Group LCL customers, we will minimise the costs associated with storage post arrival, through our network of warehouses in Auckland and Christchurch. Please talk to us about your specific requirements.

Asia

Transport of cargo around China is operating without interruption, including inter–city movements, with only some provinces still requiring driver registration or screening.

Air freight in and out of China has come under further pressure as the Central Government has tightened border restrictions again. However cargo–only services are not impacted and capacity on these freighter flights is increasing as more airlines offer them in the absence of passenger revenues. Rate levels to secure cargo space remain volatile.

Our teams in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and South Korea all advise that they remain operational and open as normal. The social measures reported by our Mainfreight team in Malaysia last week remain in effect.

Borders in India, both national and state, remain restricted, with general business closures mandated. Trade has been largely halted as ports, airports, government border agencies, and transport providers are included.

Europe

As indicated in our March 27th update, the Russian government announced closure of all non–essential industry as of today. Mainfreight operations throughout Russia will continue to operate under the published government guidelines for essential services. All Russian ports and airports will remain operational.

Our branches and operations throughout the rest of Europe continue to manage freight movements, also consistent with local government guidance.

Our European road transport teams are operating with only minor delays at border crossings.

North America

There has been a continuation of "shelter in place" orders across more states in the USA, however no impact upon the movement of freight in any state has been experienced as yet.

Our branches and depots in the USA remain open and continue to service our customers, with delivery planning an important part of our team's tasks everyday, as more organisations suspend on–site operations.

While various population and border control measures are in place, there is no impediment to trade and the movement of cargo in Canada, Mexico and Chile.

Government imposed social health measures exist now in most parts of the world. While this has necessitated some adjustment in the way our teams operate, we continue to see support from central governments almost universally to protect the consistency of cargo movement.

Air freight in the short term remains constrained, however we are gaining clarity around what this period will look like in the short and medium term. Our teams on the ground globally continue to deliver air cargo solutions, whilst we expect capacity to stabilise as freighter services come on stream and demand drops with local retail restrictions.

Please keep working with your local Mainfreight team to manage freight already in motion. As outlined earlier we have available infrastructure and team to assist through this period.

27th March 2020 Update:

Although restrictions around the globe are continuing to amplify, as an essential service provider, our branches globally remain open and operational across Transport, Air & Ocean, and Warehousing branches.

At the time of writing, borders internationally remain open for trade. As impacted communities adjust to further social restrictions, our Mainfreight teams have been able to operate effectively in this dynamic environment and have provided insight through our presence in markets across Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australasia.

Australia

Our teams across our Transport, Air & Ocean, and Warehousing branches remain operational.

There are currently no barriers to sea freight and we are seeing containers again arriving from China in large numbers. Talk to our team about options for storage should you need it.

Air freight remains the greatest challenge for importers and exporters and we are working with our partner airlines to open up even more options in the future. During the crisis Sydney will become the air freight gateway for most cargo flights in and out of Australia. Our domestic national LCL network is well placed to get your freight where it needs to be nationally. Talk to our team and we can help you find the best solution.

Despite border closures, as an essential service provider our interstate vehicles and our local trucks are continuing with pick-ups and deliveries. Our team is following all the recommended guidelines to ensure our team members, and those customers being delivered to or from, are protected and remain healthy and safe.

New Zealand

As we move into the first weekend in New Zealand under Alert Level 4 of the Government's COVID–19 measures, we continue to work with our customers globally to confirm their ability to send or receive cargo in the coming weeks.

The pressure on air freight capacity has intensified along with demand for both import and export space towards the end of this week. Flight schedules have again been reduced on many lanes globally, including New Zealand with Cathay Pacific suspending New Zealand flights with immediate effect.

In regards to sea freight, we have seen several developments towards the end of this week, with blank sailings starting to emerge as demand becomes uncertain.

We continue to work through shipments in transit that have been impacted, with those customers involved. Import deliveries and export collections continue to be completed where the collection or receiving address is accessible.
Among the shipping lines servicing New Zealand, Maersk and PIL have confirmed extended detention–free on all containers impacted by the COVID–19 measures in April.

For Mainfreight Group LCL customers, we will minimise the costs associated with storage post arrival, through our network of warehouses in Auckland and Christchurch. Please talk to us about your specific requirements.

Asia

The challenges around air freight in and out of China continue, as the government has tightened border restrictions further in the last 24 hours to protect against imported COVID–19 infections. Inbound airline schedules have again become changeable as airlines react to the new restrictions.

Cargo–only services are not impacted. Capacity is increasing, however rate levels to secure space remain volatile.

Our teams in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and South Korea all advise that they remain operational and open as normal. Mainfreight Malaysia has advised that their government has introduced similar social and business operating restrictions as those currently in place in New Zealand.

In India, both the national border, and those between states, is closed. Trade has effectively halted as ports, airports, Government border agencies, and transport providers are included in the lockdown.

Europe

In Russia the country will commence lock down, with similar restrictions to those we see in other parts of Europe. We are expecting more detail on this over the weekend.

At this stage our understanding is that ports and airports will remain operational and our teams will also be available and able to work remotely.

Our teams throughout the rest of Europe continue to manage freight movements in line with local government guidance. The majority of businesses are open and operational, although the number of those working remotely is increasing.

Our European road transport teams continue to operate with only minor delays at road borders. For a live update on waiting times being experienced by our drivers at European borders, please click here.

North America

Whilst "shelter in place" orders are coming into effect across more states in the USA, they have not impacted upon the movement of freight in any state as yet. Across Northern and Southern America, Mainfreight branches and depots are open and continue to service our customers, although we are seeing more businesses entering into lockdown in some states, making delivery planning important.

At this point, as an essential services provider, we have seen no disruption in the delivery to our Transport, Air & Ocean, and Warehousing forwarding operations.

The emergence of passenger airlines re-purposing aircrafts to move cargo only is prevalent in the USA. While air cargo rates remain volatile, our team's daily allocation through blocked space agreements do provide some protection.

For ocean freight, our USA teams report business as usual with volumes starting to pick up with the Chinese factories coming back online.

In Canada, our team in Toronto tell us that the situation remains the same as previously advised, with the border closed to all but essential industry. Cargo remains free to move north and south across the border.

In Mexico, our two branches continue to see borders with the USA remain open, although much like Europe there are some delays in crossing with health checks and delays in customs clearance.

Our team in Santiago in Chile reports that the local stay–at–home orders are being enforced. Our offices are considered essential providers and remain open.

We continue to see an escalation in social measures in most parts of the world as governments protect both their population, and support the flow of cargo.

Air freight in the short term remains challenging. However our teams on the ground globally are delivering air cargo solutions as the situation provides opportunity to do so. We expect this situation to stabilise as freighter services come on stream and demand drops with social and local retail restrictions.

Please keep working with your local Mainfreight team to manage freight already in motion. As outlined earlier we have available infrastructure and team to assist through this period.

25th March 2020 Update:

Despite restrictive measures being further strengthened across the world, borders remain open and largely unencumbered for trade. Even in the most impacted communities, our teams have been able to operate effectively.

Australia

Whilst Australian Federal and State Governments announced further restrictions and business closures last night, these changes have not altered the essential service status of Mainfreight’s Australian freight and distribution network. Our teams across our Transport, Air & Ocean, and Warehousing branches remain operational.

There are currently no barriers to sea freight and we are seeing containers again arriving from China in large numbers. Talk to our team about options for storage should you need it.

Air freight remains the greatest challenge for importers and exporters and we are working with our partner airlines to open up even more options in the future. During the crisis Sydney will become the air freight gateway for most cargo flights in and out of Australia. Our domestic national LCL network is well placed to get your freight where it needs to be nationally. Talk to our team and we can help you find the best solution.

As of this morning, our interstate vehicles and our local trucks are making pick-ups and deliveries. Our team is following all the recommended guidelines to ensure our team members, and those customers being delivered to or from, are protected and remain healthy and safe.

New Zealand

New Zealand move into Alert Level 4 of the New Zealand Government's COVID–19 measures at midnight tonight (NZ time).

Air freight remains a challenge as urgent demand is strong across a number of both import and export market segments, while capacity continues to be removed from all global trade lanes, including New Zealand.

More positive for air freight are a number of initiatives in development which will provide both short and medium-term support for air freight users into and out of New Zealand.

Mainfreight is able to offer container unpack services through our CFS operations in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and in most of our other 11 locations around New Zealand. We also have storage available in a number of locations.

From today we have enacted our New Zealand Pandemic Plan which ensures absolute business continuity throughout this period.

Asia

Our team in China and the shipping lines we work with, are 100% operational, with our team back on site. In most parts of China our team report that business has returned to normal.

Air freight however continues to be a challenge, as China has adopted measures to protect against imported COVID-19 infections. Inbound airline schedules are disrupted as all flights are diverted through a limited number of gateway airports for passenger processing.

Cargo-only services are not impacted, however rate levels remain volatile.

Our teams in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and South Korea all advise that they remain operational and open as normal.

The exception globally at the time of writing is India, where we have seen both the national border, and those between states, closed. Unlike the rest of the world, to date trade is effectively halted as ports, airports, Government border agencies, and transport providers are included in the lockdown.

Europe

There has been movement in the stance of several European governments overnight.

The Netherlands have had their lockdown period extended until June 1st, at this stage industry remains largely unaffected. Our teams continue to operate, although social restrictions are due to be tightened significantly. This is resulting in more customers working remotely.

The government in the United Kingdom overnight put in place similar lockdown measures to those in the Netherlands. To date there has been no impediment to trade.

Our Mainfreight teams throughout the rest of Europe continue to manage freight movements as normal. The majority of businesses are open and operational, although the number of those working remotely is increasing.

Our European road transport teams also continue to operate. While there are some delays at road border crossings, the European Commission yesterday made a number of recommendations to member states aimed at ensuring transport runs smoothly across the continent.

North America

Across the USA, many states have followed California, New York, and Illinois, with social restrictions referred to as "shelter in place" or "stay at home" orders.

To date this has not impacted upon the movement of freight in any state. Across Northern and Southern America, our Mainfreight branches and depots are open and continue to service our customers.

Our teams in the North America have followed state orders where issued, adopting the alternate shift model we saw in China.

We continue to see an escalation in social measures in most parts of the world as governments protect both their population, and support the flow of cargo.

Air freight in the short term remains challenging. However our teams on the ground globally are delivering air cargo solutions as the situation provides opportunity to do so. We expect this situation to stabilise as freighter services come on stream and demand drops with social and local retail restrictions.

Please keep working with your local Mainfreight team to manage freight already in motion. As outlined earlier we have available infrastructure and team to assist through this period.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your local branch. While the situation is dynamic and rapidly evolving, so too are the solutions our teams are putting together for our customers around the world.

23rd March 2020 Update:

There have been further announcements over the weekend, and today, from governments in New Zealand, Australia, and throughout the world, as extended measures are adopted to manage the impact of COVID–19.

At this stage, all 275 Mainfreight branches globally are open and operating across all our domestic and international services.

In every market we have a presence, (including New Zealand), government instructions are that freight and distribution is an “Essential Service” allowing New Zealand and all other economies around the world to operate, providing citizens access to food, medical equipment and other essential supplies.

Despite the more restrictive positions being adopted almost universally, all borders globally remain open and largely unencumbered for trade. Even in the most impacted communities, our team has been able to operate all of our services effectively through a combination of alternating shifts and working remotely.

While today's announcement in New Zealand will see our teams adopt some of the measures we have used in China over the last few months, we do not envisage service delivery and the communication levels to change in any of the markets we operate in.

We expect air freight to come under pressure this week as flights into and out of New Zealand diminish further towards the reduced services published from March 30. Demand for air freight has been strong, and with diminishing capacity, rates have moved upward. However our teams around the world are successfully securing in and outbound air cargo space daily.

The trade environment globally continues to be changeable, however the Mainfreight teams in Asia, Europe and the Americas continue to operate effectively, much as we are here in Australasia:

Australia

Our team in the 53 Mainfreight Transport, Air & Ocean, and Warehousing branches across Australia expect to remain operational this week after the state restrictions announced yesterday by the Australian government.

Within Australia our interstate vehicles are crossing borders and our local trucks are making pick-ups and deliveries. We are following all the recommended guidelines to ensure our team members remain healthy and safe so that we can continue to assist our customers move their products as required.

Asia

Our Mainfreight offices across China, and the shipping lines we work with, are 100% operational, with our team back on site.

Air freight continues to be a challenge, as it is on every lane currently. Cargo–only solutions are further advanced in China, consistent with where the country is at in recovery post-outbreak. Rate levels remain changeable.

The Mainfreight Asia teams in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and South Korea all advise that they continue to operate at close to normal levels.

Europe

The Mainfreight teams in our branches across the 11 European countries where we have a presence, report that commerce and trade are continuing within the changing environment, having little material impact on our day-to-day operations.

The two exceptions are the previously advised minor delays at continental European border crossings where drivers are being screened, and now in France where the recently extended restrictions on public movement has resulted in the majority of business closing for 2 weeks.

Our Mainfreight teams in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Poland report further health regulations and guidance, but an unchanged operational environment from that described last week.

In Italy and Spain, the local Mainfreight offices remain open and operating in accordance with local health guidelines. Ports and airports continue to process cargo.

Our two Mainfreight United Kingdom branches advise that they are continuing to work on site. Our expectation remains that there will be minimal impact on cargo movement at this stage. Ocean Freight out of the UK has started to see capacity constraints, with export surcharges introduced by several lines.

North America

Late Friday afternoon New Zealand time, California was the first state to issue mandatory state-wide restrictions in the USA to combat the spread of the virus to its residents. Like elsewhere in the world, freight and logistics are considered a critical part of the economy and infrastructure and are expected to continue without interruption. Sea freight ports remain open and operational.

Our Mainfreight team in Mexico advises that the government there is yet to impose travel restrictions. All Mexican airports and ports are fully operational, as is the northern border with the USA.

The Mainfreight Transport network throughout North America continues to operate unencumbered. We have experienced no service delays to date.

Although we are in an escalating environment in most parts of the world, governments globally continue to actively enable and support the flow of cargo.

As we have been communicating, air freight in the short term is challenging. However our teams on the ground globally are delivering air cargo solutions as the situation provides opportunity to do so.

Please keep talking to your local Mainfreight team as we all manage our way through this period together. Feedback in regions where movement among the local population is the most restricted is that it is important to understand which suppliers or customer sites are in a position to send or receive goods as soon as possible in the planning of any pick up or delivery. This is much the same as we would see in holiday periods like Christmas in New Zealand or Thanksgiving in the USA.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your local Mainfreight Air & Ocean team.

 

20th March 2020 Update:

While there have been further COVID-19 related announcements over the last 24 hours throughout the world and here in New Zealand, all borders globally remain open and largely unencumbered for trade.

The New Zealand and Australian border closures announced last night do not impact cargo movements, applying only to passengers who are not citizens or permanent residents.

While we do not expect this to have any material impact upon ocean freight services, it is likely to result in further reductions to airline schedules with non-resident visitors to New Zealand accounting for 30% of all inbound passengers last week.

Air freight continues to be a dynamic capacity and rate environment globally, however our teams around the world are successfully maintaining existing service levels, and securing additional in and outbound air cargo space daily.

Our teams in Asia, Europe and the Americas continue to operate effectively, much as we are here in Australasia:

Asia

Consistent with advice over the last week, mainland China continues to normalise, including the provinces most heavily impacted by the initial COVID-19 outbreak. Our 14 offices across China, and the shipping lines we work with, are 100% operational, with our team back on site.

Air freight between China and the rest of the world is as constrained by reduced airline schedules as we are seeing in other regions. Cargo-only solutions have been deployed to meet the growing air freight demand, however rate levels remain inconsistent.

Our other Mainfreight Asia teams in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and South Korea all advise that while various social measures are in force, they are still operating at, or very close to, normal levels.

Europe

The Mainfreight team across Europe report that industry is still productive and the only ocean freight or land transport restrictions relate to delays at border crossings where drivers are being screened.

Our Mainfreight teams in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Poland continue to report broadly unchanged operational environments from previous updates.

In Italy, Spain and France, the Mainfreight offices are open and operating in accordance with local health guidelines. The majority of our Italian and Spanish customers have met the latest requirements and are also open. Ports and airports continue to process cargo.

As has been reported in the news media, further COVID-19 measures are being introduced in the United Kingdom, however our team advised last night that they are continuing to work on site. Our expectation remains that there will be minimal impact on cargo movement at this stage.

North America

The present operational situation for Mainfreight North America remains similar to our last update, with all branches throughout North and South America remaining open.

There were positive COVID-19 test results reported at two freight terminals operated by the Port of Houston Authority yesterday, and they have closed temporarily. We expect them to re-open quickly and have seen no service disruptions thus far.

Our Transport, Warehousing and Air & Ocean network of 65 branches throughout North America continues to operate, with all open and delivering cargo. We have seen no service delays to date.

 

Although we are in a changeable environment, government actions globally continue to support the unencumbered flow of cargo. Our teams are continuing to operate and maintain a consistent level of service delivery.

As noted earlier, air freight in the short term will prove to be the most impacted mode in global supply chains. Our teams both here in New Zealand, and on the ground globally, are well positioned to continue generating and delivering air cargo solutions as this dynamic and ongoing situation provides opportunity to do so.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your local Mainfreight Air & Ocean team.

 

18th March 2020 Update:

We have seen further reactive measures taken by both the New Zealand Government, and others around the world, particularly in the restriction of public movement across borders, and in some cases, within cities or regions.

While some of these restrictions are far reaching, to date the transportation of goods both domestically and internationally is being maintained at, or very near to, normal levels of service.

Feedback from Mainfreight teams on the ground in those regions where "lockdown" type measures have been introduced in Europe, Asia and the United States, has been that we are able to continue operating much as we normally would. Factories, warehouses, ports and transport providers are largely continuing to produce and distribute goods, albeit with some health–related regulations being applied.

Air freight is the exception, and our recommendation that our customers talk with us and work through the options available. Feedback from our air freight branches around the world is consistent with what we see here in New Zealand.

Please find below updates received in the last 24 hours from our Mainfreight teams around the world:

Europe

The European Union today announced hard borders being imposed around and between countries in the EU. While in theory this change does not impact the movement of cargo, there are reports of congestion at border crossings where truck drivers are being vetted for COVID–19.

Our Mainfreight teams in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Poland report the situation there remains largely unchanged from previous updates. They are adjusting to business closures, mostly in the hospitality sector, and seeing more of our customers transition to working remotely. At this stage industry is still productive and cargo movements unencumbered.

In Italy, Spain and France, our Milan, Barcelona and Paris teams report the Mainfreight offices are open, with alternating remote and on–site shifts as recommended by the local authorities. As we have included in previous updates, health regulations are in place for Italian and Spanish organisations to open and operate, with some companies taking longer than others to meet these requirements. Those that have yet to open under the new health standards, are expected to do so by the end of this week. Our teams report they are still taking bookings and moving cargo. Ports and airports remain operational.

The Mainfreight teams in the United Kingdom are still operational and working as they would normally on site. We hear from our team that the effects of Covid–19 are beginning to be felt more in the last 48 hours, with additional regulation expected, including recommended isolation in the home. We do not expect this to impact on cargo movement at this stage.

Asia

As previously advised, China continues to gather momentum in a return to normal levels of operation. Our 14 offices across China, and the shipping lines we work with, are 100% operational, with our teams now all back on site.

Air freight between China and the rest of the world remains challenging, although new cargo-only services are emerging to meet air freight demand. Our teams in the gateway mainland branches are finding space, however the rate levels being offered are yet to settle with any consistency.

The Mainfreight Kuala Lumpur team advises that the Malaysian Government has imposed a 14–day Movement Control Order, beginning today, nationwide, through until March 31. The measures include shutdown of business premises, except for supermarkets, public markets, and convenience stores. Transport is identified as an essential service and will remain operational at this stage.

North America

As advised on Friday, last week the US Government announced restrictions on travel between Europe and the United States, including the United Kingdom and Ireland. Canada has introduced similar measures.

While the North American travel bans do not include the movement of cargo, we expect that when combined with the recently announced European Union hard border measures, further reductions in air freight capacity will emerge. Ocean freight cargo is expected to continue moving freely with no restrictions.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your local Mainfreight Air & Ocean team.

Although we are heading into a period of uncertainty, the update above demonstrates that the world's freight trade–lanes remain open. Our experience in China has given us knowledge of how to operate in this new environment, which is now evident amongst our European teams.

All 275 of Mainfreight's branches world-wide are open, and our team is finding air and sea freight solutions to support the flow of supplies on behalf of our customers.

 

Coronavirus COVID–19 New Zealand Air Freight Update

Following increased travel restrictions announced by the New Zealand Government over this past weekend, and further to our Coronavirus Covid-19 market update on Monday, we want to briefly share an overview of the air freight market situation.

To summarise the air freight environment in New Zealand, as we see it today:

  • Current airline schedules will remain relatively unchanged between now and the end of this month.
  • From March 20th, New Zealand air freight capacity will start to reduce, we estimate by between 10 -15% from what it is today
  • From March 30th, existing passenger airline schedules will further reduce by an estimated 50 - 70%, with a similar reduction in air freight capacity.

Your local Mainfreight team will continue to be able to access capacity and provide air freight routing options, even with the current and proposed reductions in air services.

However it is important to note that as capacity continues to reduce over the next 14 days at a disproportionate level to demand, air freight transit times and rates will increase.

Advice for our New Zealand-based customers this week

We are advising that forward planning is required now to allow sufficient inventory to mitigate the impact of longer airfreight transit times.

We strongly encourage both import and export customers to consider air freighting contingency stock where possible, preferably before the end of this month, to take advantage of passenger services while they still exist on current schedules.

Mainfreight response to this evolving air capacity situation

We have learned from our previous experience with the COVID-19 impact in China, that cargo-only air freight schedules will most likely increase as passenger services start to decrease. This will help mitigate some of the capacity shortage in New Zealand, however the exact amount of additional capacity is still to be confirmed.

We are continuing to monitor the situation and are in regular contact with all of the major airlines servicing NZ, reviewing schedule changes and available capacity.

Mainfreight service options available to assist our customers

In addition to keeping our customers updated on airfreight schedules, we can also offer the following services to help keep supply chains moving:

  • Access to space on new freighter routes that are beginning to emerge.
  • Access to provisional costing information for Dedicated Air Charter Services on critical routes where required.
  • Increased Sea to Air / Air to Sea Service Options over Mainfreight's Hong Kong Airfreight hub. These services use air freight to/from Hong Kong with Express LCL Ocean Feeder services to/from NZ.
  • Access to transhipment air freight services to replace previous direct air freight service options using Mainfreight hubs in Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei.
  • Access to direct LCL and FCL service and transit information as an alternative to air freight services

To discuss your specific situation, please get in touch as soon as possible with your local Mainfreight Air & Ocean team. While this is a rapidly-evolving environment we are committed to finding solutions.

16th March 2020 Update:

There has been a significant escalation in government reaction to COVID-19 over the weekend as first New Zealand, and then Australia, announced far reaching travel restrictions aimed at preventing the further spread of infection.

We expect these measures to bring with them severe cuts to airline schedules into and out of Australasia, as they have in other parts of the world when such restrictions have been introduced. Air New Zealand have announced this morning an 85% reduction in long haul flights (Asia and North America), from March 20 on some routes, and March 30 on others. Further information is to come later in the week regarding Trans-Tasman and Pacific Island services, however we expect significant capacity reduction on these short haul routes.

Advice for Australasian based customers

Our advice however remains consistent with last week, in that it is vital that our customers, their suppliers, and export customers offshore, work closely with their local Mainfreight teams to understand the options available.

Our customers with sea freight based supply chains should see a stable situation in the short to medium term, with more positive development expected out of Asia in particular this week.

Our air freight customers need to be working with us as soon as possible to prepare for firstly, an expected rush on air freight space in the 7-14 day period before airline schedules and capacity reduce to less than 20% of pre pandemic levels, as is being indicated at the time of writing.

Secondly, it would be prudent for air freight orientated customers to be planning for a, partial or potentially full, migration to either a sea freight supply model, or sea/air services for long haul customers.

Our team are communicating with all airlines servicing Australia and New Zealand and will publish more definitive schedule feedback as soon as we are able to do so.

China

More positive information is coming from China as operations in the mainland are returning to normal in most locations.

Our 14 offices across China, and the shipping lines we work with, are 100% operational, albeit with some regions still utilising alternating shifts between office based and remotely working team members. Wuhan remains the exception where most continue to work remotely.

Industry groups report manufacturing and logistics activities in mainland China are relatively swiftly returning to normal levels. This is consistent with our own experience with the majority of Chinese coastal ports being fully operational, while container and LTL road transport providers are bringing capacity back to normalised levels. We continue to see also the removal of congestion and equipment imbalance surcharges by shipping lines with exposure to Chinese ports. However our team in China and Hong Kong noted that customers should continue to allow for shipping delays as limited blank sailings and port omission announcements are still being seen.

Air freight between China and the rest of the world remains challenging as advised in our update last week. Passenger restrictions continue to escalate globally, and as a consequence air freight capacity will remain constrained. Increases in Cargo only services are emerging to meet the excess in air freight demand, and our teams in the gateway mainland branches are finding space however the rate levels being offered are yet to settle with any consistency.

Europe

In Europe our Mainfreight teams across the continent and in the United Kingdom report the situation in the region is continuing to escalate.

Italy remains in a similar situation to that outlined in our update on Friday, however the intensification of health restrictions imposed on industry to operate is potentially going to be too onerous for some, and may cause business closure or a delay in opening this week. Our team in Milan believe these measures are likely to cause issues around pickup and delivery to some business, especially in the Lombardy region.

Spain is in a similar situation where retail and hospitality outlets are closed, with monitoring of people on the streets in the cities. At this stage, airports, sea ports and industry continue to operate, however the Spanish government is expected to announce further restrictions within the next 24 hours.

Throughout the Netherlands, sports clubs, restaurants, and museums closed from 6pm Sunday local time until at least April 6th. At this stage, other commercial organisations can remain open and operate. As indicated last week, remote working arrangements where possible are encouraged.

As it is Sunday in Europe, we will have a more definitive update tomorrow after the business week has resumed.

At the time of writing, all of our European branches are expected to open and be fully operational as they were last week. This includes France, Spain & Italy.

The United States of America

As advised on Friday, the US Government announced last week restrictions on travel between Europe and the United States. That travel ban became effective at midnight on Friday March 13 and applied to passengers from 26 countries of the Schengen border-free travel area in Europe.

The United Kingdom and Ireland were initially excluded from the ban, but will be added at midnight Monday March 16 EST. Citizens and permanent residents of the USA remain excluded.

While the US travel ban does not include the movement of cargo, with approximately 50% of Trans-Atlantic air freight capacity on passenger aircraft, we expect this to have a major impact on the air freight market almost immediately, as it has in other parts of the world where passenger restrictions exist. Ocean freight cargo is expected to continue moving freely with no restrictions.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your local Mainfreight Air & Ocean team. While the situation is dynamic and rapidly evolving, so too are the solutions our teams are putting together for our customers around the world.

13th March 2020 Update:

As has been widely reported in news media, there have been significant reactions announced to the spread of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

The Mainfreight team in the USA have provided an update for us overnight, with further information this morning as the government-announced measures to be imposed have been clarified. Mainfreight team members in Asia and Europe have also shared the latest information available in their regions, alongside what they are seeing on the ground in the business communities they service.

Asia

Mainfreight China continues to report improving conditions for sea freight operations, with several factors illustrating this recovery. Shipping lines have begun to remove the reefer surcharges imposed at the height of the outbreak in China, indicating that Port congestion is easing. Furthermore, Shipping industry analysts have seen a reduction in announced blank sailings or port call omissions. The sea freight delays we have highlighted in previous announcements are expected to continue in the short term, with further improvement as normalised operating levels return.

Air freight to and from China however has remained challenging as demand outpaces returning capacity. As a consequence, upward pressure on air cargo rates has intensified. Our teams in mainland China and Hong Kong continue to find solutions via a number of routes from ports in both the North and South of the country.

Our South Korea team has advised that both the government and commercial organisations are encouraging business as usual, albeit with safety measures in place including the promotion of team members working remotely. Travel restrictions involving South Korea have expanded, leading to further flight cancellations, which is impacting air freight capacity out of and through the country.

The Mainfreight Japan team reports no changes from our previous update with both branches operating as normal.

The United States of America

The US Government announced yesterday, restrictions on travel between Europe and the United States. As of midnight on Friday 13 March 2020, a travel ban will be implemented on passengers from 26 countries of the Schengen border-free travel area in Europe. The United Kingdom and Ireland are excluded from the ban, as are citizens/permanent residents of the USA.

Contrary to initial reports, the US travel ban does not include cargo, or the movement of cargo.

However, with approximately 50% of Trans-Atlantic airfreight capacity on passenger aircraft, we expect this to have a major impact on the Air freight market almost immediately. At the time of writing Airlines have already started to move to reduce exposure to reduced passenger demand through the announcement of flight cancellations.

Ocean Freight cargo is still moving freely with no restrictions.

The Countries covered under the US Government travel ban:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Europe

Our Mainfreight Italy team reports the status there remains similar to previous updates. The Italian Government has closed all non-essential retail stores. Pharmacies and supermarkets remain open and operating as normal. At this stage, all manufacturing and warehousing remains open and operational, albeit with strict health guidelines.

Our Mainfreight Italy office is still open and our Milan-based team are still able to make bookings, pickups and deliveries. Shipments between Italy and the rest of Europe are largely unaffected, with Mainfreight continuing to run our line-haul fleet every night to and from Italy.

Our other European offices report varying degrees of COVID-19 measures. Mainfreight Spain tells us they have seen a shift in recent days with 3000 confirmed cases throughout the country.

Schools in Madrid and Barcelona will close tomorrow (Friday) for 15 days, while more companies throughout the country are working from home.

At this stage, most of our Spanish customers are still operational and we have been able to arrange transport etc.

The rest of Europe is presently operating as normal, however pandemic plans are starting to be enacted.

Mainfreight Netherlands has advised that the government there has encouraged cancellation of meetings expected to include more than 100 people, whilst recommending that people work from home. At this stage it is not mandatory, however many larger organisations have followed the advice.

All Mainfreight's European offices are open and operational.

Ports across Europe continue to operate as usual, although the previously reported equipment shortages are occurring in certain areas. As the shipping industry manages congestion between Asia and Europe, there remains an expectation that rates will increase, and/or that Peak Season Surcharges will be introduced.

New Zealand

It remains vital that our customers, their suppliers, and export customers offshore, work closely with local Mainfreight teams to secure a freight solution, whether that be to and from New Zealand, or movements between two markets overseas.

Mainfreight has well-developed Pandemic Response Plans in all regions that we have a presence, including of course New Zealand.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your local Mainfreight Air & Ocean branch.

11th March 2020 Update:

We have collated feedback in the last 48 hours from our teams in Asia, Europe, the Americas, and closer to home in Australasia, as governments and the business community continue to take measures to manage the expanding COVID-19 outbreak.

Asia

The Mainfreight team in China advise that sea freight operations are moving towards normalised operation, although the delays we highlighted earlier this week continue to be experienced.

Air freight to and from China remains challenging, although our teams there are successfully finding solutions via a number of routes, and through chartering cargo flights into the USA.

Our South Korea team has advised that both the government and commercial organisations are encouraging business as usual, albeit with safety measures in place including the promotion of team members working remotely. Travel restrictions involving South Korea have meant significant flight cancellations, which will impact air freight capacity out of and through the country.

The Mainfreight Japan team report no changes from our previous update with both branches operating as normal.

Europe

As has been widely reported, the Italian government has extended the travel restrictions previously applied in the north of the country, to now to include all of Italy.

Our team in Milan have moved to the operational approach adopted earlier in China, where half the team work from the office and the rest work remotely.

While there are restrictions for the movement of people around, into and out of Italy, no constraints are applicable currently to cargo movement. As such, to date the Mainfreight Italy team has been able to arrange cargo collection and delivery as they would normally.

Outside of Italy, we are seeing more precautionary measures with cancelled meetings and remote work promoted.

All Mainfreight sites throughout the other 10 European countries we operate in currently, continue to operate as normal, with our teams safe and well.

Ports in Europe also continue to operate as usual, although the previously reported equipment shortages are occurring in certain areas. As the shipping industry manages congestion between Asia and Europe, there remains an expectation that rates will increase, and/or that Peak Season Surcharges will be introduced.

We expect further announcements, particularly as passenger numbers drop and airlines rationalise services globally. It remains vital that our customers, their suppliers, and export customers offshore, work closely with local Mainfreight teams to secure a freight solution.

Our teams across the world will continue to provide as much detail and guidance as we can throughout this period. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact your local Mainfreight Air & Ocean branch.

9th March 2020 Update:

We have received further updates over the weekend from our teams in Asia and Europe as their business and commercial environments react to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has now been reported in 89 countries.

Asia

The Mainfreight team in China has advised that sea freight operations are largely returning to normal, although delays continue to be experienced, and are expected to persist for several weeks yet.

Our new branch in South Korea has reported that all organisations with 500 or more employees have been advised to encourage team members to work remotely. All other Asian countries have banned Korean travellers, resulting in a large number of cancelled passenger flights.

The Mainfreight Japan team has shared that while over 1,000 infections have been reported in Japan, business in general, including our 2 Japanese branches, are operating as usual.

Air freight ex China to New Zealand

As detailed in our market update late last week, demand is increasing quickly for air freight space ex China to all parts of the world, including New Zealand.

With all direct flights now cancelled, or severely reduced, we are reliant on transhipment routes through other Asian and Middle Eastern hubs to reach New Zealand.

This has resulted in the upward pressure on rates we have previously highlighted to increase, with effective rates at the time of writing in a band between USD7.00 and USD10.00 per kgm ex Northern China and USD5.00- USD7.00 ex Southern China.

It is important for all customers that both regularly use air freight ex China, and those looking at it as an option in the current situation, to factor rates at this level into their planning.

Europe

Our team in Europe has shared the following update from the Mainfreight Italy team:

  • Our Mainfreight office in Milan is 100% operational, although the team will be largely working remotely from today.
  • Hospitals are under pressure, but coping to date.
  • Schools, university, cinemas, theatres, gyms, and public pools are closed until April 3rd.
  • Restrictions have been put in place for restaurants and hospitality establishments.
  • American Airlines and Delta have suspended direct flights between Milan and North America until the end of April.
  • Singapore Airlines and Korean Air have suspended all passenger flights from Milan until the end of May.
  • All other major airlines have reduced the number of flights from/to Milan.
  • All major sea ports are working as normal.
  • Large organisations domiciled in northern Italy have asked all employees to work remotely.
  • Sales calls and meetings have been largely cancelled or moved to video calls.

It remains unclear how the measures put in place by the Italian government overnight will impact transport and freight movements. The 14 provinces included in the quarantined area in the north of Italy are home to 16 million people, and a lot of suppliers to our customers in New Zealand. As soon as we can get clarity on the immediate and forecasted impact, we will provide advice.

Outside of Italy, we are seeing more instances of cancelled meetings across continental Europe. Businesses seem to be largely operating as normal, albeit with team members encouraged to work remotely.

All Mainfreight sites throughout the other 10 European countries we operate in currently, are operating as normal, with our teams healthy and comfortable working onsite.

Ports in Europe continue to operate as usual, although the previously reported equipment shortages are occurring in certain areas. As the shipping industry manages congestion between Asia and Europe, there is an expectation that rates will increase, and/or that Peak Season Surcharges will be introduced.

We expect further announcements and changes as the COVID-19 situation develops globally, so it remains important for our customers, their suppliers, and export customers offshore, to work closely with local Mainfreight teams to secure a freight solution.

Our teams across New Zealand, China and Hong Kong, South East Asia, Japan, Europe and the Americas, will continue to provide as much detail and guidance as we can throughout this period. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact your local Air & Ocean branch

5th March 2020 Update:

As detailed in our recent COVID-19 updates, demand for air freight services into and out of China has increased as suppliers and customers have returned to more normalised operations. At the same time, airline announcements this week alone have signalled a reduction in total market capacity of 20% in and out of New Zealand.

We now see two differing air freight scenarios developing.

In China the focus is on finding air freight capacity to facilitate the kick start of supply chains which have been stalled through the last six weeks of disruption. As a result rates which will secure space have moved up in multiples of previous market rates.

The rest of the world is moving towards containment measures in line with each country's exposure and stage of outbreak management. One of the first examples of this is the announcement on Tuesday by Korean Air of the suspension of flights between Seoul and Auckland.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), has been quoted this week summarising the current air freight environment:

"Research has shown that traffic has collapsed on key Asian routes and that this is rippling throughout the air transport network globally, even between countries without major outbreaks of COVID-19".

To outline today's announcement from Air New Zealand around schedule reductions, and other updates since our last air freight focused release:

Air New Zealand

As published today, between late March and the end of June this year, Air New Zealand will make reductions across a number of services as outlined below.

  • Auckland / Hong Kong service reducing from 7 days per week to 3 in stages.
  • Auckland / Taipei service reducing from 4 days per week to 2 in stages.
  • Auckland / Singapore service reducing from 14 flights per week down to 11.
  • Auckland / Narita service reducing from 10 flights per week down to 5.
  • Trans Tasman flights will reduce by 4% overall.
  • New Zealand domestic flights will reduce by 2% with most changes being focused around services between Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown.

Air New Zealand currently represents 33% of the country's total outbound air freight capacity.

China Eastern Airlines

China Eastern, who have the only direct Auckland / Shanghai service currently operating, will be scaling back to only 1 flight per week from March 9.

Korean Air

Korean Air have temporarily suspended flights between Auckland and Seoul through until the end of March.

Freighter Services

Emirates have put on additional freighter services between China and Dubai, with several other cargo-only aircraft operators similarly increasing capacity in response to the demand upswing.

For New Zealand, the main freighter aircraft operators servicing Asia are Qantas and Singapore Airlines who, at the time of writing, have not announced any schedule changes to freighter only services.

We expect further announcements and changes as the COVID-19 situation develops globally, so it remains important for our customers, their suppliers, and export customers offshore, to work closely with local Mainfreight teams to secure an air freight solution.

Our teams across New Zealand, China and Hong Kong, South East Asia, Japan, Europe and the Americas, will continue to provide as much detail and guidance as we can throughout this period.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact your Mainfreight Account Manager, or local Air & Ocean branch

4th March 2020 Update:

The commercial environment in China has continued to improve post the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak, with the Mainfreight teams in our mainland China branches reporting most issues now being around the speed at which Chinese suppliers and importers are able to resume normalised production or the receipt of imported goods.

Restrictions on the movement of people between cities and provinces are reducing gradually, and are expected to continue to do so. Internal road transport costs remain elevated in the short term however.

Shipping Line initiated vessel omissions continue to be a feature for sea freight movements, as does congestion on many Chinese Ports.

Our advice remains consistent with previous updates, in that all bookings should be reviewed on a case by case basis to identify the most expedient routing at this time.

Air freight demand to and from China is increasing, and we have seen in the last 48 hours several airlines confirm a limited increase in services into China. While we expect Airlines to slowly increase capacity for China, we do not believe it will be at a rate that will meet demand in the short term.

This situation will maintain the current upward pressure on air freight rates in the region, but is allowing our team to find solutions for Mainfreight customers.

We have also had further updates from our Mainfreight teams across Europe. The most significant impact to sea cargo continues to be shipping container equipment imbalances in Germany. This is resulting in delays and/or the introduction of temporary surcharges.

Airlines are reviewing schedules globally at the current time as other countries take COVID-19 related measures to manage passenger movement across their borders.

While no restrictions on the movement of goods between countries currently exist, we do urge caution as the uncertainty we initially experienced in the early stages of China's reaction to the outbreak, could potentially emerge in other regions.

Our advice remains to keep working with your local Mainfreight Air & Ocean team as early as possible so that we can provide the latest shipping and airline schedule information, and communicate feedback from our Mainfreight branches close to your offshore supplier or customer in Australasia, Asia, the Americas and Europe.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact your Mainfreight Account Manager, or local Air & Ocean branch

2nd March 2020 Update:

Trading conditions in mainland China and Hong Kong are continuing to improve post the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak.

Limited restrictions are still in place around the movement of people between cities and provinces, while the previously reported driver shortage is still exerting pressure on capacity and rates.

Shipping Line initiated vessel omissions continue to be announced and congestion on Port remains a challenge. Our advice remains consistent with previous updates, in that all shipping should be reviewed and where a significant inland road transport leg is involved, investigate barge and feeder vessel options via 2nd and 3rd tier ports closer to the shipper or importer.

We are also getting reports from our Mainfreight teams in Europe, particularly Germany, where shipping container equipment imbalances are causing delays and/or the introduction of temporary surcharges in reaction to a shortage of imported containers from China.

Air freight demand to and from China is increasing, and although passenger flights are expected to be severely restricted for some time, announcements regarding increased freighter services have been coming through from a number of airlines. This is opening up options for our team to put together solutions for Mainfreight customers all over the world, although it is important to note that rates on impacted services are carrying a premium.

Widening COVID–19 infections are being reported in Korea, Japan, Singapore, Italy, Iran and over 60 other countries, including 22 of the 26 countries where Mainfreight currently has a presence. No restrictions on the movement of goods between countries currently exist (other than those previously advised), however we do expect further rationalisation of airline passenger services.

We will maintain our monitoring of the situation across Australasia, Asia, the Americas and Europe and provide updates as information becomes available.

It remains important in the current environment to talk to your local Mainfreight Air & Ocean branch as early as possible so that we can secure a solution for you.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact your Mainfreight Account Manager, or local Air & Ocean branch

 

29th February 2020 Update: 

Our teams in mainland China and Hong Kong have reported ongoing improvement in the operating environment for commercial activity post the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak in China.

It is believed that over 80% of shippers and factories in China have now resumed export activity, with challenges around labour and intercity transport availability still a factor.

Chinese government agencies, including the Chinese Customs Department have returned to close to normal operating levels. Transport within cities appears to be again at almost 100%, however the driver shortage is still exerting pressure on rates. Our team on the ground in China believes domestic transport demand will stabilise in 2-3 weeks.

All Port Terminals are open, although delays and vessel omissions continue to be experienced. Our advice remains consistent from our previous update, in that all shipping should be reviewed and where a significant inland road transport leg is involved, investigate barge and feeder vessel options via 2nd and 3rd tier ports closer to the shipper or importer.

Shipping Lines continue to be reluctant to accept Reefer container bookings as a shortage of power connections on Port, and the congestion detailed above, mean that cool chain risk is elevated.

Air freight enquiries regarding urgent options to and from China have increased as forecast, while passenger flights involving China will be severely restricted until at least mid March. Our teams are however finding success in bookings between China and New Zealand through a number of routes.

As indicated in our last update, we have seen increased levels of COVID-19 infection being reported in Korea, Japan, Singapore, Italy, Iran and other countries.

A global pandemic is yet to be declared, and there are no restrictions on the movement of goods between countries (other than those previously advised).

We do however expect Airlines to continue to react to reduced passenger demand, which will impact the movement of goods by air, should the wider infection situation deteriorate.

We will monitor the situation across Australasia, Asia, the Americas and Europe where Mainfreight has a presence, and provide updates, as we have with China.

The positive developments in China are expected to continue, with a general normalisation of sea freight activity appearing only several weeks away. Air freight capacity however is directly linked to passenger demand, which will be influenced by infection rates in impacted countries.

As shipment bookings start to increase, so it becomes more important to talk to your local Mainfreight Air & Ocean branch as early as possible so that we can secure a solution for you.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact your Mainfreight Account Manager, or local Air & Ocean branch

 

25th February 2020 Update: 

We have been working closely with the Mainfreight teams in mainland China and Hong Kong as commercial activity begins again, and focus moves toward air and sea freight solutions for our customers that have had supply chain disruption through the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak.

Today’s update is detailed below:

Our Mainfreight China branches have all now resumed normal operations, and our team continues to be safe and healthy. As a precaution we will maintain the two shifts approach through until March 2nd. 

The team reports that between 60% and 80% of shippers and factories have resumed export activity, with a lack of labour persisting in the short term. 

Chinese importers are back operating in the most part, with only 10% yet to reopen. We have seen bookings increase steadily since late last week. 

Transport within China continues to be challenging as the previously advised limitations on movement between cities and provinces is maintained. The team tell us that transport bookings are being completed, albeit with 48 hour delays in most cases, making it important to arrange cartage ahead of time. Driver shortages are still being experienced which is compounding the travel restrictions for those that are working, which is in turn pushing up rates by up to 150%. 

All Port Terminals are reported to be open, although delays and vessel omissions continue to be factor. Our team suggests that all shipping should be reviewed and where a significant inland road transport leg is involved, investigate barge and feeder vessel options via 2nd and 3rd tier ports closer to the shipper or importer. 

Shipping Lines are still reluctant to accept Reefer container bookings as a shortage of power connections on Port, and the congestion detailed above, mean that cool chain risk is elevated. 
We are fielding increasing enquiries regarding Air freight options to and from China. At the time of writing there are very limited passenger flights into China until at least mid March, while we are starting also to see a reduction in flights to other Asian destinations as passenger demand remains subdued. However, our teams have put together air freight options for all the main import and export Chinese lanes we operate in, including New Zealand, Australia, The Americas, Europe and Southeast Asia. 

Finally we have seen increased levels of infection reported in Korea, Japan, Singapore and Italy.

Measures taken in Italy

In Italy, the Italian government has taken measures to tackle the spreading of the Coronavirus. In some of the northern communities, where the amount of diagnoses is relatively high, are being isolated. The inhabitants are not allowed to go to school or work. All roads and railroads from and to these areas are closed or controlled. The following cities are unreachable for the outside world: 

LOMBARDIA  REGION:
26821 Bertonico
26841 Casalpusterlengo
26844 Castelgerundo
26823 Castiglione D’Adda
26845 Codogno
26861 Fombio
26847 Maleo
29848 San Fiorano
26867 Somaglia
26827 Terranova dei Passerini

VENETO REGION:
35030 Vo

Our Mainfreight teams in these markets expect the introduction of additional restrictions over the coming week. They advise our customers to proceed with caution if trading with these countries. We will continue to monitor the situation and include these regions in our updates if the situation changes. 

In summary, while there are positive developments in parts of China, there remains considerable uncertainty, which has the potential to spread to other impacted countries. As shipment bookings start to increase, so does it become more important to talk to your local Mainfreight Air & Ocean branch as early as possible so that we can secure a solution for you. 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact your Mainfreight Account Manager, or local Air & Ocean branch

 

18th February 2020 Update:

The Mainfreight teams in mainland China and Hong Kong have provided overnight a more positive update than we have seen since the Wuhan Coronavirus situation began to impact commercial activities.


The key points at the time of writing are:


Mainfreight branches within China

  • Mainfreight Xiamen has fully recovered and is operating at 100%.
  • Mainfreight branches in Qingdao, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen have also recovered to 100%, although our teams in those operations are on rotating shifts to limit exposure. Effectively this means that at any given time, 50% of the team is in the office, with the other 50% working remotely.
  • Mainfreight Tianjin, Beijing, and Ningbo are operating at limited capacity while local authorities work through the approval process, which will permit the team to reopen the office. While this is completed, the team is working remotely.

China mainland-based Shippers & Importers

  • The Hubei, Anhui, and Zhejiang provinces remain closed for commerce until further notice.
  • Commercial operations throughout the rest of China continue to experience constraints caused by team members not returning after the extended Chinese New Year period as they are in areas where movement is restricted, or they are unable to meet government hygiene requirements to start operating.

Domestic Road Transport within China

  • Previously imposed limitations around movement between cities and provinces remain in effect.
  • Our teams have been able to book transport for export shipments from China 2 days in advance.
  • While transport is available, the cost has increased up to 150% due to the shortage of drivers and with demand coming back on. (We will communicate with individual customers directly to manage these cost impacts where applicable).

Port Terminals

  • Yang Shan in Shanghai is operating for export cargoes at a limited capacity.
  • Xingang (Tianjin) & Ningbo ports operational at limited capacity.
  • All other Chinese ports are operating as usual for export only.
  • Import cargo into China is being delayed through congestion, and carriers are generally prioritizing the loading of export containers in the time available at the port.
  • Reefer containers continue to be heavily impacted due to the limited availability of plugs on port and congestion.
  • Shipping lines continue to announce port omissions in the short term as a result of the congestion.

Air

  • Passenger flights into China remain limited until at least mid-March.
  • The Mainfreight Air Freight teams in China have found that routings over Hong Kong and Singapore offer the best options into Australasia in the short term.
  • Cathay Pacific has announced further reductions overnight in air freight services into and out of China in response to deteriorating passenger demand.

We continue to advise our customers to talk through their situation with their local Mainfreight Air & Ocean teams. While the business environment in China has improved further, it does continue to be uncertain.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Mainfreight Account Manager or local Air & Ocean branch.

 

14th February 2020 Update:

The Mainfreight teams in Mainland China and Hong Kong have continued to keep us informed this week around the Wuhan Coronavirus situation and its impact on commercial activities in affected regions.


Progress towards normalization of trading after the extended Chinese New Year (CNY) period has been challenging as expected.


Aside from the Mainfreight branches in Tianjin, Beijing, and Ningbo, which remain closed while local reopening requirements are met, all of our other branches are open and operational. 
To minimize the risk of infection for our team, and following Central Government guidelines, our teams are in the offices on rotating shifts or working remotely.


While shipment bookings can be made, as usual, our teams report that a lot of supplier factories and warehouses remain closed. This is particularly prevalent within the Hubei province, as well as Anhui, Zhejiang, Henan, and Chongqing, which all remain closed until further notice. 
The factories we work with outside of these provinces have told us that the Government requires them to have available 6 weeks’ stock of masks for all team members before they are allowed to resume operations.


At the time of writing, we are finding that Chinese customs processing is back to normal, albeit with delays due to an increase in compliance requirements. 
The Yang Shan terminal in Shanghai, Xingang & Ningbo ports are yet to reopen. Qingdao, Yantian, Wai Gao Qiao Shanghai (WGQ), and Xiamen ports are operating, albeit again, with delays.


Cross border and inter-province or city road transport is still an issue with licensing restrictions and quarantine period requirements for drivers having an impact in some areas. Hong Kong is the exception where we are currently able to use road transport across the border. However, rail is restricted.


Airfreight remains constrained. Cathay, for example, has reduced flights by 90% in and out of mainland China. 
Mainfreight offices in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, and Vietnam are all operating as usual. 
Our advice from earlier updates is mostly unchanged; we encourage our customers to talk through their situation with their local Mainfreight Air & Ocean teams. While the business environment in China has improved, it does continue to be uncertain.


Our teams in New Zealand, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Australia will continue to provide updates as information comes to hand.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Mainfreight Account Manager or local Air & Ocean branch.

 

Transport | 27 March 2020

Within Australia our interstate vehicles are crossing borders and our local trucks are making pick-ups and deliveries. We are following all the recommended guidelines to ensure our team members remain healthy and safe so that we can continue to assist our customers move their products as required.

Our teams are aware of their critical role in maintaining supply lines to business and homes, here and around the world. The physical nature of freight movement means that we cannot isolate ourselves. Daily engagement with our customers is a requirement, for the collection and delivery of freight.

Please don’t feel offended if our driver no longer shakes hands, or is seen to be maintaining a 1.5-metre separation protocol for contactless collections or deliveries. A smile and a wave will quickly be reciprocated.

The following measures are designed to reduce our drivers’ and customers’ exposure, in both business and home environments:

Business deliveries

  • The 1.5-metre rule outlined above applies.
  • Drivers will sanitise hands after each activity and regularly during daily delivery /collection routines.
  • If receivers are uncomfortable signing delivery documents for any reason, outside the 1.5-metre separation area with their own pen, the driver will request a full name which they will endorse on each consignment receipt prefixed with CV-19.

Home deliveries

  • During our pre-delivery telephone call, we will now be asking receivers questions around their health status and if any household members are in self-isolation. Deliveries to affected properties will be managed on a case-by-case basis.
  • We will deliver to an agreed location outside of the residence.
  • Our drivers will print the receiver’s name on the consignment note in front of the receiver, as signatures are no longer mandatory.
  • No returns from private premises will be accepted until further notice.
  • We continue to monitor the health of our drivers and all our team members, encouraging anyone displaying any signs of illness to stay at home. As usual, we will be offering all our team free flu vaccinations as winter approaches.

Depot Collections

In this current COVID 19 environment, we are committed to minimising any unnecessary “personal contact” and non-essential travel risks for our team and our customers. With this in mind, we have had to cease our depot freight collection option for customers with immediate effect.

This means receivers are no longer able to come to any Mainfreight depot to pick up freight. However, we are able to arrange “contactless” delivery of your freight using our well-equipped owner driver vehicle fleet.

Please ensure you work with your suppliers and customers to ensure the right arrangements are made when booking a delivery and the necessary information is available for our team to make phone contact with receivers ahead of delivery.

For more information or to arrange a delivery please contact your local Mainfreight branch. We are here to help!

 


 

We will continue to do our utmost to meet our obligations and keep supply channels working. We ask for your continued support by communicating this simple message where necessary.

The situation is being monitored daily and these measures are subject to change as required.

If you have any questions regarding these collection and delivery protocols, please contact your local Mainfreight branch.

 

For the latest updates from around the world go to our COVID-19 Global Updates news article

Mainfreight Protocol 

Coronavirus Protocol within Mainfreight | 27 March 2020

Within Mainfreight we have started below protocol, which helps to minimise the potential spreading of the Coronavirus. We will continue to implement any new protocols as they are advised by the relevant authorities.

• Cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief or use a your bent elbow if you cough or sneeze.
• Don’t shake hands or kiss as a greeting.
• Wash your hands regularly for at least 30 seconds with soap and water or with a disinfecting alcohol gel. Dry your hands with paper towels.
• Avoid contact and keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres 
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Do not share personal items such as pens, food, drinks, cups etc.
• Stay at home (or work from home if possible) if you feel ill.
• Contact your doctor if you have a fever, cough and are short of breath.
• Inform your supervisor if you have been in risk areas. This includes China, South Korea, Northern Italy, Japan, Iran, Singapore, Hong Kong, United States and Thailand etc.

Loading and unloading at suppliers / customers

• Drivers must disinfect their hands and avoid direct contact. Do not shake hands. Keep 1.5 metre distance.
• Drivers are not allowed in the warehouse.
• Use your own pen when processing shipment documents.
• Use disinfecting gel

Loading and unloading cross dock

• Drivers must disinfect their hands and avoid direct contact. Do not shake hands. 
• External Drivers are not allowed on the cross dock.
• Use your own pen when processing shipment documents.
• Disinfecting gel. Use this also for access control.

 

 

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