Last update: March 19.

March 19 update*

At Europartners Group, we are always working hard to find the best cargo transport alternatives in all our modalities. Today, we present you our solutions available for ocean freight.

EUROPE

Spain

Factories are only providing minimal services; other companies are fully closed. Carriers continue to provide service, but with limitations. There is already a shortage of containers, so we suggest planning your shipments at least two weeks in advance. The Spanish customs office disclosed some information regarding the EUR 1 process: a system was implemented in which the customs agents will leave the certificates in a mailbox and, 24 hours later or more, in that same mailbox, they will find them signed and sealed. Times may vary depending on the saturation of the system.

Italy

Despite the isolation of the population, the ports continue to operate on a regular basis. Thus, we continue to receive import cargo from the country.

Germany

The situation changes on a daily basis. Most factories begin to slow down production. Not being able to ensure transit times on land and barges, we suggest contacting your Europartners executive to assess case by case the best land-based solution at origin. Hamburg Sud and Hapag Lloyd have confirmed that they have a shortage of special equipment, so they will be applying a surcharge called “emergency imbalance”. Specific rates must yet to be confirmed.

France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium

The factories are opened, but production capacity is beginning to decrease. There are no changes in sight to routes or transit times from these countries to Mexico; ground transportation is still operating, but we recommend close attention to the daily changes resulting from border closings. We suggest contacting your Europartners executive to assess case by case and decide together the best logistics solution.

ASIA

China

Factories resumed production in early March, but production speed remains somewhat unstable. Wuhan Hubei remains in isolation. Factories staffs haven’t reached 100% yet, because not everybody has left their home provinces back to work. Barge services have been restored. Ground services are working only with surcharges, differently from October 2019. So far, no additional blank sailings have been announced for the month of April.

If you have loads pending shipment, do not hesitate to contact your Europartners Group agent, who will give you more information about it and, if necessary, will find the best solution for you.

March 12 update*

Donald Trump suspends flights from Europe to the US

The President of the United States announced on March 11 the suspension, for 30 days, of flights leaving Europe to the US.

The ban only applies to passenger’s flights leaving the 26 countries in the Schengen Area free movement zone: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Thus, many airlines are not making quotes or bookings and capacity must drop significantly, although most of them have announced that all staff is equipped to work remote in case any lock-down restrictions were announced.

Nevertheless, all trucking in USA is working normal.

At Europartners Group, we are working on contingency plans so that our clients are minimally affected.

If you have loads pending shipment, do not hesitate to contact your Europartners Group agent, who will give you more information about it and, if necessary, will find the best solution for you.

 Italy: general situation

  • The Italian government declared the country a red zone and precautionary measures are being applied. Basically, people were asked to stay home and avoid going out, to avoid further infections.
  • People are allowed to leave home to work or to attend a medical appointment. There are no activities in schools or events where there may be a crowding of people.
  • These rules do not fully affect the logistics operation.

Logistic operations:

  • The Italian government measures are not affecting logistics operations and work continues as normal.
  • Italian ports are working on a regular basis; There is only a little delay in land movements, since in port carriers are allowed to enter / exit “one by one”.

Operations by Italian airports are maintained, flying only cargo on cargo flights, as airlines have canceled passenger flights.

Ireland

As some of you may already be aware, Ireland has now been placed in a partial lockdown until March 29, at least, to try to contain the spread of COVID-19. While there aren’t many cases in Ireland, they’re still trying to slow the virus’ spread.

Eastway will be operating split shifts within the offices for the foreseeable future until the lockdown has been lifted. As such, they responses may take slightly longer but they reaffirm they will be operating.

Denmark

Denmark is still operating. The air cargo handlers informed that they are operating, but with a limited staff, so delays are expected. Airlines are evaluating the situation by the hour. On Thursday 12 morning, local and domestic truck are still available to carry out collections, and also inter European deliveries are still possible.

Germany

Schools and public institutions in Germany are still opened.

Only schools that had students affected were closed. Some universities are announcing on-line classes and meetings.

Events with more than 100 participants were asked to be held.

So far, it is still possible to do deliveries into Austria and Italy by road.

As we’ve mentioned before, cargo on American Airlines (and other airlines) to the US is no longer possible. Lufthansa announced they are working on a special plan.

Norway

Norway has announced the lock-down of all public schools, kinder gardens, concerts halls, restaurants, sports activities etc. until at least March 26th.

Companies has been encouraged to let the staff work from home, if possible.

All Norwegians that are coming home from countries outside the Nordic countries must immediately stay in a 14-days home-quarantine.

For the time being, logistics operations are normal.

Netherlands

Operations in Netherland are almost normal; only part of the south is facing limited services.

Airlines are cancelling more routes each day. We are waiting for KLM’s official statement.

Switzerland

Bordering with Italy, Switzerland has closed some small border crossings for private individual traffic to/from Italy, but all main border crossings to Italy, Austria, France and Germany are open and goods can move freely on the road.

There are some delays only at the border crossings in Italy.

Swiss airlines have cancelled flights to/from Italy, Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Bordeaux, Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Beijing, Cairo, but all European destinations can be served via Road Freight.

Swiss has decided to keep the kids at school to avoid increasing their contact with their grandparents, which is the higher risk population. Some Universities are now closing. All events expecting more than 1,000 participants have been cancelled since last weekend.

February 28 update*

Operations in the ports of Mexico

The operator SSA Mexico reiterated that the ports operated by the group continue their work normally, with teams prepared to serve all users.

The Port of Manzanillo is on the list, operating on a regular basis, but with exhaustive surveillance measures against contagion, “applicable to ships from countries with documented cases [of the disease caused by COVID-19] and to personnel that board such vessels and/or may have contact with crew members,” according to the group’s official statement released today.

Situation in Italy

Although Coronavirus cases have increased in Italy, logistics operations in the country have not been affected. There are no reports of restrictions or emergency measures.

According to the National Federation of Transport Associations of Spain, some precautionary provisions are being applied in two affected regions, Lombardy (Bertonico, Casalpusterlengo, Castelgerundo, Castiglioni D’Adda, Codogno, Fombio, Maleo, San Fioriano, Somaglia and Terranova dei Passerini) and Veneto (Vo ‘).

Airlines

Some factories in China have returned to work on a regular basis, but with due precautions. However, land transport services remain a problem: the number of vehicles and operators available is not enough for the demand, which has increased costs.

Factories in Hong Kong are returning to work and air freight is gradually becoming more fluent, but space problems are still expected on the following week.

CX is the only option that is offering regular services to Mexico but is sharing space on its flights with cargo from the United States; thus, it does not have a guaranteed base load due to the load demand expected for the following days.

CV is another alternative, but the bookings on Monday (2/3) are being postponed to the following Saturday (7/3) which shall generate long transit times.

At Europartners Group, we continue to present logistics options on a case-by-case basis.

The a21 newspaper has published this week a list of airlines that still had commercial flights canceled to China:

American Airlines has suspended flights to China and Hong Kong until April 24.

Air Canada suspended all its flights to Beijing and the Toronto-Hong Kong route until March 27. The Vancouver-Hong Kong route is still operating.

Air France suspended its flights to China for most of March.

Air India has suspended its flights to Shanghai and Hong Kong until June 30.

Air New Zealand has suspended its Auckland-Shanghai route until March 29. It will subsequently reduce its capacity on its routes to Shanghai between April and May.

Air Seoul has suspended its flights until further notice.

Air Tanzania has postponed flights to China until further notice.

Air Mauritius has suspended its flights to China and Hong Kong until further notice.

ANA has suspended all its flights until further notice

Austrian Airlines suspended its flights in February.

British Airways suspended its flights until March 31

Cathay Pacific was one of the most affected. It plans to cut a third of its capacity in the next two months. It will suspend 90% of its flights to mainland China and has asked its 27,000 employees to take three weeks without pay.

Delta Air Lines suspended its flights until April 30.

Egyptair recently announced that it will restart some flights to China in the next few days.

Al suspended its flights to Hong Kong until March 20 and its flights to Beijing until March 25.

Emirates suspended all its flights to China, except Beijing.

Etihad suspended all its flights to China, except Beijing.

Finnair suspended all its flights to mainland China and reduced the number of flights to Hong Kong until March 28.

Hainan Airlines suspended its flights between Budapest and Chongqing until March 27.

Iberia suspended its flights to Shanghai until the end of April.

JejuAir will suspend all its flights to China from March 1.

Kenya Airways suspended all its flights until further notice.

KLM suspended all its flights until March 28.

Korean Air suspended 26 routes to China with restarting dates between March 28 and April 25 and reduced capacity in four others.

Lion Air suspended all its flights during February.

Lot suspended all its flights until March 28.

Lufthansa suspended all flights to mainland China until March 28 and reduced capacity on flights to Hong Kong.

Oman Air suspended all its flights until further notice.

Philippine Airlines halved flights between Manila and China

Qantas Airways suspended its flights until March 29.

Royal Air Maroc suspended its flights until February 29.

Russia. All Russian airlines, except Aeroflot, canceled their flights to China until further notice.

SAS suspended all its flights until March 29.

Saudia suspended all its flights until further notice.

Singapore Airlines suspended some routes and reduced capacity on other routes.

Qatar Airways suspended all its flights until further notice.

Rwandair suspended all its flights until further notice.

Scoot suspended all its flights until further notice.

United Airlines suspended all its flights until April 23.

Vietjet suspended all its flights until April 30.

Vietnam Airlines suspended all its flights until April 30.

Virgin Atlantic suspended its flights until March 28.

Virgin Australia announced that it will stop flying the Sydney-Hong Kong route because it is not commercially viable.

If you have cargo from or to China, do not hesitate to contact your EP agent, who will give you more information about it and find the best solution for you.

February 21 update*

Our partner Seamaster Global Forwarding and other major carriers let us know today that business in China are gradually resuming operations, at a varying pace. Nevertheless, there’s still a way to go until a ramp-up in production and exports can be observed.

Drayage in China: Various provinces and cities have imposed restrictions on the entry of non-residents and vehicles registered outside their localities. This has given rise to a shortage and/or rate increase of inland trucking in the mainland China as truck drivers have not been able to return from their hometowns to their work regions post-holiday. Advanced bookings of at least 2 days are required to secure trucking services.

Ocean Freight: All Chinese ports –except Wuhan– are currently operational. However, many container yards have yet to re-open, potentially causing equipment shortage.

Furthermore, some of the prime carriers and services are already under discussion of applying a congestion and surcharge fee for few of the affected ports, as the port operations are negligible, and containers are being discharged on alternate ports. This is the most important information we got today:

  1. Hyundai: Proceeding to vessel skipping, as inventory is surplus at this moment. That could also result in a variance of 10% – rates would be impacted as market trends.
  2. 2. OOCL: There was already a blank sailing scheduled for this quarter, but some extra impact can be expected in March, as production is at halt, leading to alternative vessel sailing as a possibility.
  3. One: The company is anticipating on volume drop in export and inventory shortage (March-April). Though production has increased at origin due to the first quarter (Q1) rush, they are expecting an increase in rate, plus push will on 40 units.
  4. Cosco: States that at the moment the inventory is ok, but they warn that an impact may be noticed very soon, probably by mid-March; rates would be then based on inventory availability.

In terms of dates, the Lunar New Year has been extended until Feb. 3rd; nevertheless, local governments in China are considering to interrupt operations until the second week of the month.

The operation’s interruption will continue until Feb 9th in Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Fujian, Shenyang and all flights arriving and departing from Wuhan have been cancelled.

Also regarding air transportation, it was reported that 34 domestic and international flights to China, while other such as CX, All Nippon Airways (NH) and Turkish Airlines reduced their flights, and that will also affect cargo shipping.

As to ocean freight, shipping companies and co-loaders are alert to the evolution of the Coronavirus. Officially, to this day, the operations are normal, except for the port of Wuhan.

Until further notice, borders with Russia and Hong Kong remain closed.

Feb. 11th update*

Today’s update brings better news. The situation in China’s North and East is returning to normality. Plants nearby Shanghai, Qingdao, Dalian and Xingang ports are slowly resuming activities starting next week (Feb. 17th).

On another note, employees on most companies on Southeast China are still working from home; that limits volumes transported from/to areas close to Ningbo, Shenzhen, Xiamen and Huangpu ports.  

Congestion begins to be notices at base ports for the next departures, such as Qingdao and Shanghai – thus, we recommend to make your bookings in advance; departures before February 22nd are already saturated. We expect the shipping companies to rise their prices, but the values are still uncertain.

Feb. 11th update on blank sailings

Shipping companies with joint service: Cosco, CMA, APL

WSA3 service

Week 7 ETD Shanghai (Feb.11th) must affect ETD in Ensenada on March 1st and Manzanillo.

Regarding Maersk blank sailings, the program will not affect the AC2 service – which is exclusive to Mexico; nevertheless, the AC3 service, dedicated to South America, will indeed be affected by three blank sailings. Thus, AC3 cargo services will be transferred to AC2 services departing from Busan port. With that, the AC2 service rotation will increase and touch some extra ports in South America, after reaching Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas ports.

February 5th update*

To prevent the virus from continuing to spread, the Chinese authorities have closed their borders, causing delays in global production chains. Since the outbreak in Wuhan took place in a manufacturing area and one of the main export points, returning to normal activities may be expected until the beginning of March. That will certainly affect several logistics chains.

Operations in Shanghai, Jiangxi, Shandong, Anhui, Chongqing, Jiangsu, Yunnan, Guangdong and Zhejiang shall remain closed until Feb. 10th. On Hubei province, until the 13th. But there’s a high probability it may last longer.

Shipping companies such as CMA CGM, Hambürg Sud and OOCL have announced a free time extension in China for containers until Feb. 19th.
Sidney, the Philippines and Vietnam have put all ships that have passed through China on the last 14 days in quarantine. Possibly other countries will replicate the decision.

With the reduction on cargo areas, several airlines have suspended their services from and to China on the next weeks. Most flights departing from Wuhan have been cancelled and port operations are suspended until further notice.

Each and every year, after the Chinese New Year festivities a blank sailing period is declared. On next few weeks, probably the blank sailing will increase, followed by a raise in tariffs for containers. Port operators have intensified their security measures, which may result in more delays. Until now, ship operations and port calls remain normal.

High traffic in ports must be taken into consideration. You also must consider lack of equipment (containers), shortage of vessels, delays in port operations and transport services. We will keep constant communication with our carriers to provide the best solution to your shipments.

* We’ll keep updating the article anytime we get new valuable information.