06 November 2020

Service Announcement Europe | Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

We would like to keep you informed about the influence of the coronavirus on the transport market through this site. Mainfreight keeps a close eye on developments. We take measures to protect employees and customers, but we also try to keep our services as normal as possible.

Since the virus has also reached countries in Europe, we are extra vigilant. As Mainfreight, we follow the advice of the local authorities. 

Market Updates Europe

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 | 06 November 2020

Update 06 November 2020

There have been a number of developments this week reported by our Mainfreight teams around the world.

Equipment, Space (Air & Ocean) and Port congestions are a theme in which all of our teams around the world are challenged with, but remain confident as we navigate through a busy season.  

In Europe, we are seeing social restrictions reintroduced in reaction to a surge in Covid-19 infections as we move into the Northern winter. As we experienced earlier in the year, to date these lockdowns have not impacted on the movement of cargo, and are not expected to. We continue to keep the safety of our team at the forefront and continue to have all of our branches and teams remain operational.

It is important at this time that all customers allow for potential delays, and talk to their local Mainfreight Air & Ocean team about any time sensitive shipments. 

Mainfreight Europe

Across the region schools, colleges and universities remain open. However, in France the universities are now closed and in Belgium all schools are closed until mid-November. Most European countries have restrictions in place for bars and restaurants, with many closed.

We continue to monitor the situation in all countries we operate in. All Mainfreight branches throughout Europe remain open and operational. This includes our European Transport network who continue to deliver throughout the region with minimal delays. If you are making bookings via our transport team, please ensure that the receiver of your cargo is open and available to take the goods.

To date, these restrictions have not impacted the movements of products through our network.

From a cargo operational perspective:

·  Our teams continue to see challenges procuring ocean freight container equipment across Europe. In some countries up to 3 weeks is required, with inland depots more challenging with empties not being relocated fast enough.
·  Container cartage in the United Kingdom is under pressure with delays of a week not uncommon.
·  Felixstowe continues to be challenged in clearing the backlog at the terminal, with no acceptance of empty containers for de-hire currently.
Air Freight: All Air Freight branches and operations throughout Europe and globally remain open. With the present market conditions, in general we are seeing upward pressure on pricing and space, especially to and from Asia. Although space is a challenge, our teams globally continue to navigate through and keep products moving.
LCL: Our LCL consolidations moving to and from all Mainfreight to Mainfreight regions continue to operate at the service levels we expect. We see this product as a good service through these challenging periods as the reliability in schedule and regularity allows product to be delivered to destination as expected.
Rail: Whilst rail continues to be a viable alternative option for transport to and from China, the rail network has experienced forms of delay and over capacity through the last weeks as well as equipment shortage seen similar in ocean freight. In some cases, we are currently seeing bookings taking 2-3 weeks to secure. However, we still see rail as a viable alternate transport method as we come into Christmas.
The Mainfreight Europe team of 2,745 dedicated people across 45 branches in 11 countries are working with customers and suppliers to manage the local situations we are encountering. While delays are occurring, we are finding that cargo is moving through to intended recipients successfully.

Mainfreight North America

Mainfreight VP of Air & Ocean Sales for North America, Jake Moller, reports that although a surge in Covid-19 cases have been reported, there is no indication of further official lockdowns as are being seen in Europe, with all customers operating much as usual.

As was communicated last week, there are however challenges around the movement of containers, with months of near capacity volumes and restricted operations now compounded by increased peak season importing:

·  A nationwide chassis shortage is continuing to be felt, with Los Angeles and Long Beach Port Terminals particularly impacted.
·  Rail heads inland around the rest of the United States also face delays.
·  The volume surge is also limiting the ability of terminal operators to implement cargo-handling enhancements such as dual transactions and dray-offs that help truckers increase their productivity.

The Mainfreight Port Operations team based at our Carson site in LA, is managing to keep containers moving, but advises that it would be prudent to be prepared for delays over the coming months.

Our Domestic Transport teams across the United States have been prepared for any disruption in the wake of the Presidential Election 48 hours ago. As of this morning, no issues impacting on the delivery or collection of cargo have been experienced.

Mainfreight Asia

Billy Zhang, Mainfreight Regional Sales Director - Asia, has told us this week that across his region, Covid-19 appears well-controlled, with only Malaysia reporting more daily infections.

In all 9 Asian countries where Mainfreight has a presence, cargo operations are continuing as usual.

Billy tells us that a deficit of 40’ equipment remains in the main ports of China, Thailand and Vietnam. Capacity also continues to be under pressure from Asia to all regions, including Australasia.

However Mainfreight customers with good forecasting are successfully moving containers ex Asia.
Ports of Auckland & Tauranga

As communicated last week, the Port of Auckland remains under pressure to process in and outbound containers, which is driving shipping line behaviour and having a flow-on effect on the Port of Tauranga, as more vessels omit Auckland in favour of Tauranga.

The Mainfreight team around the world managing shipments into and out of Auckland are being notified of congestion surcharges being imposed by the lines. These currently are in a range between USD $200 and USD $300 per TEU.

This is primarily due to compounding demand of vessels and volume, balancing labour supply within fatigue risk parameters, as well as continued trialling of vessels and truck moves through Automation as they work through implementation.

Vessel delays are currently on average up to 10 days, with a risk of further slippage being signalled. The Port is in the process of planning berthing windows for vessels working at the Terminal, although the results remain indicative only, while the current issues persist.

The Port release also advises that due to the dynamic and changing environment it is difficult for Port and shipping line tracking websites to be accurate.

Shipping Line schedule changes and vessel port call omissions around New Zealand have been increasing as a direct result of the Auckland congestion, with many carriers opting to call at Tauranga instead of Auckland, or omitting ports such as Lyttelton, Wellington & Napier to make up time lost waiting for a berth in Auckland.

With all of the ocean freight challenges being experienced, we have seen an increase in Air freight enquiry as our customers explore options to meet market commitments.

This is expected to accelerate as we close in on the end of the year, so we suggest that any customers needing expedited services like air freight, should get in touch with their local Mainfreight team member.

Mainfreight Australia

As advised in previous notifications, concerns with congestion at port terminals and ECP’s (Empty Container Parks) in Sydney continue. Our Port Transport teams are working closely with all stakeholders to manage the impact of waiting time, detention and alternate site storage where possible.

While delays of up to 5 hours when returning empties are being seen, our team is only passing on waiting time fees for those containers where 2+ hours is incurred.

Our team in Australia remains optimistic that this is a short-term issue, with government and industry initiatives being discussed to reduce the congestion.

Wider Port issues through the eastern seaboard of Australia have diminished this week, and are expected to improve further in coming days.
Around the 26 countries that make up the Mainfreight world, our Air & Ocean teams on the ground, working closely with our local Transport teams, are finding solutions to either circumvent congestion trouble spots, or mitigate potential issues through earlier planning. We know that communication is key during this period.

We are uniquely advantaged in the networked structure of our business, and the systems that support both our teams in 280+ Mainfreight branches around the globe, and the great customers that we work with.

For all Mainfreight customers and suppliers, right now the single most important message is that the further ahead bookings can be made, the more likely we are able to achieve an outcome that meets expectations. On most lanes, for sea freight FCL movements we would recommend booking a minimum of 4 weeks prior to ex store date. 

If you have any questions in regards to any shipments, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Mainfreight team.

Transport | 17 December 2020

Since Tuesday, the rules in the Netherlands have been tightened to prevent a further spread of the coronavirus. Also in Europe more and more countries are getting stricter rules. This often means closing all non-essential stores and only essential activities outside home are allowed. For the time being, Europe is still fully accessible for goods transport. We as Mainfreight still drive to and from all countries and do our utmost to get your goods to their destination. However, delays may occur and there may be fewer departures to certain destinations. To our regret, this has an impact on our transit times and deliveries. In addition, we would like to draw your attention to the enormous demand for transport these days. This will have an impact on our timetable. So book your shipments on time! 

All European Mainfreight branches are open and operational. When booking your shipments, we urgently ask you to check whether pickup and delivery addresses are open (also around the holidays) and whether loading and unloading is possible. It is very important that we only receive shipments with addresses where loading and unloading can take place. If the pick-up or delivery address is closed, we kindly ask you to book your shipment only when these addresses are open again. If we are unable to deliver a shipment because of a (temporarily) closed unloading address, we are obliged to return this shipment to you. We will have to charge you for these extra costs.

Also pay extra attention to mentioning correct contact information when booking the shipment so that we have the correct and complete information at our disposal.

If you have any questions, please contact your account manager or our customer service team (customerservice@nl.mainfreight.com).

More information

TLN maintains an up-to-date and insightful overview of the measures that apply to the transport of professional goods by country in Europe: www.tln.nl/coronavirus-en-landeninformatie/.

Some of Mainfreight's employees work from home, so please contact us by email as much as possible.
In all its decisions, Mainfreight follows and acts in accordance with the regulations of the National Institute of Public Health.

Mainfreight Protocols

Coronavirus Protocols 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 bent elbow if you cough or sneeze.
  • 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 meter
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Do not share personal items such as pens, food, drinks, cups.
  • Stay at home (or work from home if possible) if you feel sick.
  • 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.

Wanting to know more...

Global Updates

Further updates per region on COVID-19 can be read here

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Do you want to know more about the Coronavirus or how it affects your freight, please get in touch with our local teams

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