Update Corona virus (COVID-19)

 April 07, 2020, 8am (CET)

The COVID-19 situation is now global concern, with public health systems and national economies under increasing pressure from the impacts of the virus.

As a global company that is active in numerous communities around the world, our thoughts are with our colleagues, customers and suppliers who are working tirelessly to overcome the unique challenges brought on by this exceptional situation.
We are adapting our response on a daily basis.
Our focus is on protecting the health and safety of our employees and ensuring our customers’ operations continue as smoothly as possible during this difficult period. We continuously provide our colleagues in sales and operations with in-depth information so that they can support our customers with the most up-to-date and relevant advice.

We will continue to update you as the situation evolves. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your local Kuehne + Nagel representative if you need more information.

Health and safety measures at Kuehne + Nagel

The health and safety of our customers and employees remains our top priority. All Kuehne + Nagel offices have implemented actions according to recommendations from the World Health Organisation, including hygiene awareness, self-declarations and voluntary quarantine.   
All our operations and offices have prepared and activated business continuity plans, as COVID-19 is spreading wider and governmental restrictions are getting stricter. These plans include measures such as segregated shift schedules, working from home, the preparation of secondary locations and more.

In regards to risk of virus on packages and pallets we receive and deliver, we deem the risk low, following WHO statement of "The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low."

Business continuity program

As a global logistics company, we are facing supply chain disruptions on a regular basis. We adapt continuously our global standards of business continuity management and test our Business Continuity Plans addressing different crisis scenarios.

They are designed to protect the safety and wellbeing of our employees and to ensure an uninterrupted service for our customers. In respect of the magnitude of the COVID-19 effect, we are executing new and continuous risk assessments, business impact analysis and implementing new measures into our business continuity framework based on alert levels.

The learnings from the activation of BCPs in China at the beginning of the crisis have helped us to make changes and improvements in all our BCPs around the world. All countries have established national response teams in order to either prepare for, or execute activation of these plans.

Where deemed appropriate by our national management teams and where required by governmental decrees, we activate preventive measures and processes, which include temperature control of employees and visitors (within the parameters set by locally applicable laws such as data protection laws), self-declarations, segregated/flexi work arrangements, options to work from home, the sanitisation of our offices and sites, and the provision of essential hygiene products at workplaces. Standard processes have also been defined in case of staff being infected or exposed to people who are infected.

We are sharing hygienic guidelines with our suppliers to ensure greater awareness within the supply chain.  Drivers arriving for collection or delivery undergo a briefing on hygienic best practices, and where permissible, are instructed to fill out self-declarations.

We have implemented global travel restrictions and external and internal meetings are either conducted as video conferences, or only in the presence of a small number of participants observing social distancing recommendations as issued by public health authorities.

General situation in our regions

North America
As the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, state and local authorities in the US, Canada and Mexico have called for more stringent steps to be taken for local governments and businesses. As a result, we have activated further control measures in our business continuity plans. Despite the challenging environment, all operations continue to function.

South and Central America
Several governments in South and Central America have declared “state of emergency”, establishing, among other measures, the closure of borders. others have enacted national quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus by forcing the closure of our locations, but they continue operating remotely. Despite the challenging environment, operations continue to function.

As the virus continues to spread across Europe, we are experiencing several impacts on logistics flows. Although all of our European sites and offices continue to operate, we expect delays with shipments due to increased health and safety measures at various borders. For the impact on the different transport modes please see below.
Russia has declared public holidays until April 5 with a quarantine starting on March 30. The imposed measures include closure of all borders for people movements. Flow of goods are not impacted.

Generally, business in China is returning to normal. Nation-wide, work resumption is above 80%. Lockdown for Wuhan City will end on April 8. China’s production has returned to close to normal. Transport movements, including trucking services, are also returning to normal status. China export trade starts to feel some impact due to supply chain disruption and the closure of business and manufacturing overseas.

South Asia
With the increasing number of confirmed cases reported in several countries across South Asia, most of the local governments have stepped up their containment controls. These measures include but are not limited to 14 days self-isolation for travellers, restricted community movement and border controls. We have enacted additional health and safety measures, and activating our Business Continuity Plans where necessary and required.

Following the "complete lockdown" by the India government from March 25 for a period of 21 days, there is a restriction in the movement of people, except for those involved in providing essential services. Border check controls have also increased. We are closely monitoring and adapting to the situation, although some locations are forced to be closed due to these restrictions.

Middle East and Africa
As the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, state and local authorities in the Middle East and Africa countries have called for more stringent steps to be taken for local governments and businesses. As a result, we have activated further control measures in our business continuity plans. Despite the challenging environment, all operations continue to function.

Impact on Road Logistics

With more and more governments issuing new measures, the situation in Europe is evolving very rapidly. Even though our network and all our offices across Europe are operating, we experience serious delays at several European borders due to increased health and safety measures. This is having an impact on many other linked transport lanes. The closure of many companies, being pick-up- or collection- addresses for our network, is affecting our operations and service. Closed companies on both shipper and consignee side lead to decreased volumes and the need to reduce selected international linehaul frequencies and conduct reroutings. This can in certain lanes cause delays of 1-2 days.

Spain is only allowing transport of cargo for primary daily needs. Shippers need to ensure with their Spanish consignee's that their shipments belong to the category of this essential cargo before booking the shipment.

Ferries between the European mainland and Finland are running. Sweden and Norway are accessible either via ferry or land bridge. Ferries and Eurotunnel from and to the UK (incl. Ireland) are operating without major impacts.    

For an indication on border waiting times please consult the publicly available information via this link covid-19.sixfold.com. As we cannot verify the data nor guarantee its accuracy, this link should be used for information purposes only.    

For any country in Europe, we strongly ask shippers to check the availability and readiness of their customers to receive shipments during business hours, before handing shipments over to us. Shipments which cannot be delivered due to absent consignees will be returned to shippers at their cost. In case shippers are not able to receive these returned shipments, storage cost will apply.In case of pick-up orders customers also need to ensure readiness of their pick-up addresses. If this is not given, cost of the pick-up attempts will be charged.    

Further customers need to ensure that consignee’s will confirm receipt of cargo.

In almost all European countries additional border checks and measures to contain the spread are being conduct. Therefore time delays need to be expected for international transports.

In addition the cities Uničov, Litovel and Červenka in the postcode area CZ-78 have been declared as quarantine zones, preventing the collection and delivery of goods.. The remaining postcode area CZ-78 continues to be accessible, however serious delays need to be expected.

Authorities of the following departments have given priority to the transports of food and pharmaceutical products. This can cause serious delays for all other goods in the following remote areas: 04, 05, 07, 09, 20 (Corsica), 33, 39, 56, 73, 74 (mountainous region)

GERMANYOn 16th March 2020 the German Government announced, that:

  • bars, clubs, discotheques and similar institutions
  • theatres, operas, concert halls, museums, trade fairs, exhibitions, cinemas, theme parks and zoos as well as providers of leisure activities (indoor and outdoor)
  • sports facilities, fitness centers, swimming pools and water parks, playgrounds and other retail outlets

cease their operations.

Many carriers are suspending their services from and to Italy, which is leading to a shortage of freight capacity for the trade lane.

TURKEYCurrently waiting times of at least on day need to be expected for the border crossing of the overland route to Turkey. At the Bulgarian-Turkish border crossing Kapitan Andreevo – Kapikule a queue has formed, causing waiting times between two and three days for entering Turkey. In addition drivers of Turkish nationality have to enter a 14-day precautionary quarantine after returning to Turkey. The additional health checks at each border of the transit route, the existing convoy obligation in some transit countries and queues at the border crossings significantly extend delivery times, reducing the available cargo space.

China and South Asia
Overall, trucking services in China continue to recover. The operation for cross-border trucking to and from Hong Kong (SAR, China) remains normal.   
We see an improvement in the congestion situation at the China/Vietnam border (Pingxiang border). The border committee had implemented corresponding measures including prioritising the release of cargo from exporters that are Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) high-credit or entering into the bonded area (subject to verification from the border committee).   
With the 14-day quarantine measure imposed by the Vietnam government, we see a scarcity of (Laos and Cambodian) drivers for cross-border transportation from Vietnam into Thailand. Although the Thailand government had imposed a partial lockdown of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Buri Ram provinces and declared a state of emergency, the cross-border movement for commercial and essential goods between Thailand and Myanmar/Laos/Cambodia is allowed. All drivers need to undergo health checks. In addition, the Vietnam government started a nationwide 15-day social distancing campaign from April 1. Currently, there is no impact on the domestic and cross-border transportation.
For cross-border trucking to Central Asian countries, China/Kazakhstan border (Horgos border) opened on March 18. We see congestion at the border due to the long holidays declared. The border authority has yet to announce the details of health safety measures.   
Trucking to Europe via the China/Russia route (Manzhouli border) faces slight congestion. We expect an increase in health safety measures.   
The Malaysian government has extended the movement control order until April 14. Borders are opened for the movement of essential goods in and out of the country, subject to the approval of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) of Malaysia.
On March 25, the India government announced the “complete lockdown” of the country for 21 days. Only essential commodities and services are allowed to operate with prior permission from authorities. Following which, the local government issued an addendum on March 29, allowing the importation of non-essential goods to help ease the congestion at ports. The lockdown by the New Zealand government had also commenced from March 25. We anticipate delays in the movement of goods for both India and New Zealand.
The situation and border control measures in most of these countries are evolving rapidly as the COVID-19 situation continues to change. We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide further updates on this page.   
North America
US, Canada and Mexico border restrictions only impact "non-essential" travel and do not apply to the transportation of goods and services.  Additional US states have closed business deemed non-essential. The majority of US states have orders to stay at homeThe majority of US states have orders to stay at home, however these measures are not directed at commercial truck traffic. Check with individual partners on their operation status prior to shipping because nearly all LTL carriers will be returning freight immediately (<1 day) after a refusal due to a closed consignee. Cargo cannot be held at the destination due to large volumes of undeliverable freight resulting in additional charges.

US domestic truckload capacity is tightening, but federal and state governments are committed to keeping the supply chain moving.  The majority of LTL and Small package carriers will suspend physical signatures. In adherence to the “Social Distancing” policy, drivers will not be obtaining signatures from consignees. Drivers will record the exact time, note any exceptions and obtain the name of the person who is accepting the freight.  As spot market truckload rates rise to highly affected areas, less drivers are willing to take loads into these areas forcing the ad hoc rates to climb.  Urgent orders of retail goods drive rates up for van and reefer equipment. Retailers, including e-commerce outlets, rely increasingly on spot market providers to re-stock shelves immediately, while truckers report long wait times at pickup and delivery points.

Pennsylvania DOT reopened 13 of 30 rest areas with parking and temporary facilities. After pressure from the American Trucking Association states have reopened sites with temporary facilities, but limited services. Commercially run truck stops continue to operate with limited dine in options as governed by their individual jurisdiction.

Impact on Sea Logistics

While the situation in each country is evolving daily as authorities impose new regulations and restrictions, our local experts are at your full disposal to assist and support you with your specific requirements.

North America

Our sea freight operations are fully functional with minimal impact from having to work remotely. The main CFS gateways in US are operating normally but with reduced hours. Due to decreases in vessel operations some ports or terminals have reduced operating days or hours. All Port Terminals will prioritise essential products (medical goods) movements over non-essential goods. However, cargo is still flowing into/in US and Canada.

Central South America
There are currently no major restrictions on sea freight operations. The offices are still handling business, but with reduced staff or in home office mode. The ports are operational, but there are delays and congestion in the terminals due to reduced staff, reduced attention hours and local quarantine measures.

Argentina is in national quarantine and only allows essential cargo flows. Vessel operations are normal. The cargo-gate-process is normal with delays, but giving priority to essential cargo (e.g. food, pharma, etc) the ports and CFS work with skeleton staff and can only handle essential shipments accepted by customs authorities.

Bolivia also instructed general quarantine, so delivery from ports is impacted. In Chile, the government has instructed a mandatory quarantine in Santiago, but seafreight operations are not affected and terminals and ports are working as normal. In Venezuela the ports are working with restricted operations.

Terminal, depot and CFS operations in China are almost back to normal. The availability of reefer plugs at terminals in Tianjin, Shanghai and Ningbo improved. As carriers still see a decline in demand for shipments from China, they continue to announce blank sailings, which will probably continue until the end of March.

South Asia
With the surge in the Coronavirus cases outside China, governments across the South East Asia region are stepping up their containment measures.

In the Philippines, Luzon (Manila), Visayas (Cebu) and Mindanao (Davao) had been placed under a state of "enhanced community quarantine". The Port of Manila is operational, but with limited capacity.

The Malaysian and the Indian government had announced lock downs. All non-essential manufacturing, government and private business premises in the countries are not operating during this period. All essential services, such as ports and transportation companies, continue to run, but with limited operations. The Terminals across India are facing severe labour shortage and high yard inventories affecting the productivity. Break bulk terminals have claimed Force Majeure. Berth schedules are disrupted in most of the terminals with no buffers. Carriers have announced blank sailings to EUR & MED, Asia, and USA.

In Myanmar customs release is allowed, but non-essential cargo cannot be delivered.

The Vietnam-Cambodia border is closed for container movement by road.

In South Korea, seafreight logistics and overall supply chain remain stable with all trucking, customs clearance and warehousing operating as usual. Port congestion at Busan has eased since vessels resumed direct calls to Chinese ports.

In New Zealand, ports are starting to become congested with non-essential shipments that cannot be delivered as customers are closed due to the lock-down. However, essential services continue to operate and with it the associated logistics chain. Ports continue to operate. In the port of Adelaide, Australia, we register a noticeable lack of equipment.

In Sri Lanka, only essential shipments can be loaded and moved with special curfew passes. In the ports, container gate-in is still possible, but within reduced working hours.

In Bangladesh, the government decided lockdown/movement restrictions as well. Ports and CFS' are operational, but with reduced capacity. The Chittagong port is starting to become congested.

In the other countries we see "business as usual" from a ports and carrier perspective, but with delays and equipment and space constraints due to blank sailings. Overall, ports are becoming congested and reefer plugs are hardly available.

With continued blank sailings and the dynamic situation at various borders, impacts on our sea logistics business and barge operations in Europe become noticeable. The governments of Italy and Spain have decreed to close non-essential factories and commercial activities. Although cargo transportation is still allowed in order to sustain the supply of goods, the delivery might be hindered by closed manufacturing sites and warehouses. The ports are operational with slower gate in / gate out process and delays in customs clearance. Processes in Italian ports are slower due to reduced working hours. Freight train operations via KN Eurasia Express for Imports and Exports are not affected.
Middle East and Africa
Ports and terminals are operational with delays due to carriers and customs shorter working hours, preventive measures and reduced capacity. Reefer plugs become short as reefer containers keep stocking up. Ports, CFS and cargo vessels are still operating, but with precautionary measures. There is a decrease of volumes visible at all port terminals. Turkey is facing impacts on imports and exports. Here, vessel sailings, equipment availability and carrier operations are effected here. Mauritius is on lockdown. Major shippers and consignees start to shut down and all service providers have to work from home in South Africa. Essential cargo will be allowed at the 8 Sea Ports. The ports will prioritise the movement of essential goods. Cape Town port operations are closed for all wine/beer/spirits.

Impact on Air Logistics

North America
The travel restriction between 26 countries in Europe and the US, that became effective on March 13, and the EU restrictions effective on March 17 only apply to passenger travel. The majority of airlines announced a drastic reduction of passenger flights offering limited capacity at market rates. Since the trade lane between Europe and North America is largely dominated by passenger aircraft, we have been experiencing a severe drop in the available capacity. In reaction to evolving capacity constraints due to severe cuts in belly capacity, we see an increase in freighter capacity compared to last week.
In order to contain further virus outbreak, restriction on non-essential activities was put in place in a number of US states and between the US and its Northern (Canadian) and Southern (Mexican) borders. These measures do not apply to trade flows and all our branches continue to operate with reduced staff or in home office mode.
The rise of cases in Canada and Mexico and EU travel restrictions are also leading to limited available capacity in the market due to the heavy reduction of passenger flights and cancellation of some freighters.  
Our airfreight operations in Europe continue running. However, with the majority of flag carriers closing down their passenger networks, we experience significant capacity constraints to all major markets. Increased congestion at airports and cargo rerouting via European hubs are effecting overall processing time and transit times of shipments. Overall, freighters are back on schedule and carriers offer additional charters on congested lanes such as Europe to the US.

South Central America
Following border closures and lockdowns of some South American countries and the subsequent drop in demand, carriers having closed their international operations. Argentina reduced imports to essential goods only, which means that every shipment now needs to go through an additional green light procedure before shipping.  The overall operational status of airports, truckers and customs is stable, and all our airfreight branches are operating, in most cases, partially from home.

Middle East and Africa
Capacity constraints are also seen in the Middle East and Africa region with all airlines having suspended/reduced their passenger flights on the routings into the region. This week national carriers Etihad Airways and Emirates have suspended all passenger flights as per the UAE government’s directive. Cargo and emergency evacuation flights are exempt from this suspension and will continue. In South Africa, the limitation to essential cargo-only transportation has been lifted, and with immediate effect all cargo is allowed to come into the country. Our operations continue running with teams working from home/operating in split setups in all countries, including countries that have imposed countrywide lockdowns.

Asia Pacific
The overall situation with regard to the operational status of airports, truckers and customs clearance in China have returned to normal levels by 90%. Only Wuhan airport remains closed to commercial traffic. Production recovery is leading to an emerging transportation demand adding pressure on available capacity. In addition, with effect from March 29, China has further reduced the number of international passenger flights as part of its COVID-19 prevention and control measures. According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), from March 29, each Chinese airline can only operate one route to any country, with no more than one flight per week. Each foreign airline can only maintain one route to China, with the number of weekly flights reduced to one.

The Chinese government has introduced a new regulation to support the global pandemic situation more effectively and ensure the orderly export of quality medical supplies. Shippers need to provide declarations (written or electronic) that they have obtained China's medical device product registration certificates for their export shipment and that the medical supplies are compliant with the quality standards of importing countries (regions).

Pressure on capacity caused by limited passenger flight activity is seen in the majority of South Asia Pacific countries. Complete lockdown in India has a direct impact on customs and terminal operations, trucking, and available capacity. In addition to all international passenger flights being suspended until April 14, we see that freighter’s capacity out of India is also reducing.
Overall situation
With the majority of carriers closing down or making large cuts in their passenger networks, we see acute shortage of lift at a time of strong demand on all trade lanes.  
In order to compensate for belly capacity shortages, freighter capacity has significantly increased; however, at the moment, this increase is not sufficient to offset a strong drop in global belly capacity.
Our Airfreight teams are fully informed about the latest development of this constantly evolving situation, and we encourage you to reach out to your respective Kuehne + Nagel contact person for any further questions and any specific requirements regarding your airfreight shipments.

Alternative solutions for shipments

We remain committed to serving our valued customers. Besides working closely with carrier partners to provide solutions for urgent shipments, we have also activated alternative transport modes and route solutions to support your business needs.


  • Charters
    Working closely with our key airline partners, our airfreight experts maintain regular space allocations on major Asian and Translantantic routes and have established additional weekly charter rotations to service both markets for urgent supply needs. A weekly fixed operating schedule and new charter movements on high demand trade lanes will help to avoid production and supply chain delays, and ensure the continuation of your operations caused by present and future implications of the „Coronavirus“ outbreak.

  • Time-Critical solutions
    The impact of COVID-19 poses particular challenges for critical logistics needs in the healthcare, aviation or manufacturing industries. To expedite your deliveries, resolve transport delays and ensure the continuation of supply chain flows, Quick/Sterling, a Kuehne + Nagel company, is dedicated to offer you the time-critical solutions you need. Despite global travel restrictions, countries` lockdowns and severe capacity constraints on all trade lanes, our expert teams are committed to support you. Do you have an urgent shipment? Contact our experts in time-critical logistics.

  • Sea-Air service
    Kuehne + Nagel Sea-Air service, a combination of sea freight and air freight transport modes, helps to expedite your deliveries and ease capacity constraints whenever possible.

    Learn how Sea-Air services can ensure the continuation of your operations. Click here.


  • We offer KN Pledge for full sea container transport. It includes a guaranteed lead-time for your shipments with a money-back guarantee.

  • Customers can review in real-time, all available services, including regular service updates via our digital platform, seaexplorer. Seaexplorer enables customers to search for appropriate alternative service options in case of service disruptions.

  • Our KN LCL-Expedited Service offers you an alternative for imports from Asia or Europe to the United States or vice versa with a faster transit time than regular LCL services: Using a direct route from the port of discharge to the customer location, which skips the inland CFS location, the Expedited Service is up to 6 days faster. For further information please contact your local Kuehne + Nagel office.

We have introduced the priority service "Reefer-Go" for time critical pharma and healthcare consignments that need to be loaded in south and central European ports according to a defined schedule. For further information, please contact your local Kuehne + Nagel reefer or pharma seafreight team.


  • Overall, tight conditions for Eurasian rail freight remain in place. Kuehne + Nagel will continue to operate the weekly KN Eurasia Express block trains connecting Xi’an with many European destinations through on-carriage options. With a direct line via Kaliningrad/ Mukran, cargo will reach Europe within 12 to 14 days.


  • Even though most borders in all affected countries are open for transport of goods, urgent shipments need special attention regarding export and import documentation. Please reach out to your Kuehne + Nagel representative for further guidance.


We will continue to update you as the situation evolves. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your local Kuehne + Nagel representative if you need more information.

DISCLAIMER - All information is provided in good faith for guidance and reference purposes only. It is of a general informational nature, and Kuehne + Nagel takes no legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided via this document. Kuehne + Nagel makes no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of any of the information contained herein and accepts no liability for any loss arising from the use of the information provided.