03/25/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 03/24/2020 22:05
25th March 2020 Update:
As we move into Alert Level 4 of the New Zealand Government's COVID-19 measures at midnight tonight, we are working with our customers globally to confirm their operational status for the next 4 weeks.
At this stage, all 275 Mainfreight branches globally are open and operating as government-approved essential international air & sea freight, transport and warehousing services.
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.
As we will outline later in this update, the rest of the world is moving towards similar restrictions as those about to take effect here in New Zealand, albeit at differing speeds.
As business, both in New Zealand and in the other 25 countries we have a presence in, prepares for the period of disruption/interruption ahead, we are seeing two key areas requiring focus.
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 obviously 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 engaged with central government, border agencies, and our global partner air lines. We will communicate more detail as we get clarity around these options. If you have an immediate air freight requirement, there are still services operating, so please get in touch with your local Mainfreight Air & Ocean team.
The other area of immediate focus is management of shipments already in transit. We are reviewing impacted movements and will communicate with you to discuss delivery. Likewise, we ask that if you have product arriving into New Zealand, or being exported into other markets, please ensure you are communicating with us.
At this stage only Centreport in Wellington and the Port of Tauranga/Metroport have indicated concessions on demurrage charges for containers unable to be uplifted within free time. The shipping lines' position on container detention has yet to be confirmed.
The shipping lines' position on container detention has yet to be confirmed.
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.
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 requirement.
From today we have enacted our New Zealand Pandemic Plan which ensures absolute business continuity throughout this period.
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.
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.
Our Mainfreight offices across 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.
The Mainfreight Asia 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.
There has been movement in the stance of several European governments overnight.
The Mainfreight team reports in the Netherlands that while their lockdown period has been 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.
For a live update on waiting times being experienced by our drivers at European borders, please click here.
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, 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 Mainfreight Air & Ocean team.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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 notinclude 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our team in Europe has shared the following update from the Mainfreight Italy team:
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.
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.
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 have temporarily suspended flights between Auckland and Seoul through until the end of March.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
26823 Castiglione D'Adda
29848 San Fiorano
26827 Terranova dei Passerini
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.
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
China mainland-based Shippers & Importers
Domestic Road Transport within China
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.
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.