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Service Announcement Europe | Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

Posted on 27 March 2020

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

Update 27th March

As previously updated, all 275 Mainfreight branches globally continue to be open and operational as government-approved essential international air & sea freight, transport and warehousing services.

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.


Our most effected country overnight is in Russia, where the government has announced closure of all non-essential industry as of Monday. Our operations throughout Russia will continue to operate to the guideline of the government and will be able to handle our customers cargo with similar restrictions to those we see in other parts of Europe. At this stage ports and airports will remain operational.

Our branches and operations throughout the rest of Europe continue to manage freight movements consistent with local government guidance and consistent to the updates which have been sent earlier this week.

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 check the update at the Transport section.


Our Mainfreight offices across China report that business has continued to return to normal.
The challenges around air freight in and out of China however 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. 

The Mainfreight Asia 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.

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, Warehousing or Air & Ocean forwarding operations.
While air cargo rates remain volatile, the Mainfreight 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, the Mainfreight team in Toronto tell us the situation remains the same as previously updated, 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.
Mainfreight Santiago in Chile reports that the local stay-at-home orders are being enforced. Our offices are considered essential providers and remain open.

New Zealand

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. There 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.

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

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.


We understand that there may be potential of a similar lockdown in Australia to that of what New Zealand has introduced, however to date, this has not been confirmed nor implemented. Our teams in Mainfreight Transport, Air & Ocean, and our Warehousing branches across Australia remain operational. Recently announced state restrictions have resulted in a gradual closure of retail outlets and some businesses.

Mainfreight’s interstate and local vehicles continue to make pick-ups and deliveries, with our team following all the recommended guidelines to ensure they, and our customers, remain protected, healthy and safe.

We also see an appreciation from central governments around the world for the place that the secure movement of cargo has in supporting communities and business and remain hopeful that the unencumbered flow of cargo will continue to be supported.

Air freight in the short term remains constrained. Our Mainfreight teams on the ground globally are delivering air cargo solutions as the situation provides opportunity to do so. 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.


Update 27th March 2020

At this moment, Europe is still accessible for goods transport and we as Mainfreight still drive to and from all countries and do our utmost to bring your goods to their destination. In several countries we do see extra border controls, health checks of drivers or cargo transport that can only cross the border in convoy. This can cause delays and these aspects can, to our regret, have an impact on our transit times and deliveries.

Update Italy

The Italian government has decided to close all non-essential industries and businesses completely. An overview of the industries that are NOT affected by the ordered closure can be found here. So when shipping to and from Italy, make sure that the addresses are open.

Update Great Britain

After the British government decreed a three-week lockdown of the country on March 23, only companies in the critical infrastructure will accept goods. So when shipping to and from Great Britain, make sure that the addresses are open.

More company closing

We are seeing an increase in the number of companies that are closed, particularly in Great Britain, Italy, France, Belgium, Spain and Russia. These shipments are returned, which disrupts our process and entails additional costs. 

Once again we make an urgent appeal to you as our customer:
It is in everyone's interest that our networks remain available for the transport of various goods that are counted on. We count on your cooperation and understanding. We herewith make an urgent request to check when booking your shipments whether work is being carried out at the addresses and if loading and unloading is possible. If the pick-up or delivery address is closed, we kindly ask you not to book your shipment until these addresses are open again. If we are unable to deliver a shipment due to a (provisionally) closed unloading address, we are obliged to return this shipment to you. We will have to charge you for any extra costs.

The map below shows the current situation at the various European borders. For the most current situation at the borders, you can use the link https://covid-19.sixfold.com/

We would like to reiterate our call to continue to treat our drivers with respect. We have instructed our drivers and are extra alert to all hygiene measures. In order to prevent further spread of the virus through our drivers, we have taken the following measures:

  • Our drivers stay at home in case of complaints such as nose cold or coughing, sore throat or fever.
  • Our drivers don't shake hands anymore.
  • Our drivers avoid physical contact and try as much as possible to keep a distance of 1.5 meters.
  • For the time being, our drivers sign the CMR themselves. The driver does this in the presence of and in consultation with the recipient.
  • Our drivers will clean hands after each activity and regularly during the daily delivery/pickup routines.

In addition, 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 Protocol 

Coronavirus Protocol within Mainfreight

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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