Agility Global Shipping
Updates: COVID-19

Product Updates

Ocean Freight


  • Due to the ongoing closing of European borders, delays are inevitable in international- and local deliveries
  • International line hauls for groupage shipments to and from Italy stopped from Thursday March 26, 2020
  • Upfront clarification needed if cargo can be picked-up or delivered to avoid demurrage and return cost 
  • Upfront clarification needed if cargo can be picked-up or delivered
  • More detailed on current road freight market developments can be found at the IRU (Road Transport Union) website here.
  • Information on delays at border crossings in near real time can be found here.
  • Further disruptions expected according to developing situation in other European countries
  • Alternative (ad-hoc) solutions to overcome limitations are available on request
  • Please find detailed information on schedules, capacities and constraints in the Agility Operational Tracker

Country by Country Overview


  • Strong disruptions in local pick­-up and delivery­ activities
  • Local market is reaching capacity litmits for warehouse space
  • Limited capacity issues with availability of drivers and equipment on specific trade lanes


  • Some disruptions in local pick­-up and delivery­ activities
  • Industry is more and more closing down production


  • Strong disruptions due to government measures
  • Local pick­-up and delivery­ disruptions as well as international line haul delays due to closing down of domestic transport companies 
  • Hardly any service available in Italy due to the closing down of factories 
  • Traffic to/from CEE and Balkan countries is more and more delayed as well as some border crossings are being closed
  • Alternative (ad-hoc) solutions to overcome these limitations are available on request


  • Limited disruptions in local pick­-up and delivery­ activities
  • Industry is more and more closing down production


  • Limited disruptions in local pick­-up and delivery­ activities
  • Industry is more and more closing down production


  • Strong disruptions due to government measures
  • Local pick­-up and delivery­ disruptions as well as international line haul delays
  • Industry is largely closing down production
  • Hardly any service available in Spain due to the closing down of non-essential industries
  • Alternative (ad-hoc) solutions to overcome these limitations are available on request


  • Limited disruptions in local pick­-up and delivery­ activities

United Kingdom:

  • Some disruptions due to government measures
  • More disruptions in local pick-up and delivery activities


  • Russia: borders with European countries have been closed fro non-Russian drivers. St-Petersburg Port is reaching capacity limits
  • Eastern European: traffic to/from countries is delayed as well as some border crossings are being closed
  • Turkey: traffic to via Balkan-Route is blocked due to quarantine for the driver before entering Turkey as well as many borders being closed. Short Sea alternative available via port of Trieste (Italy), yet strongly congested
  • Please contact your local Agility contract for details on your country if not listed above

Americas Road Freight Update

  • No current indications of substantial road freight capacity issues. Though many governments have enforced a “shelter in place” rule, logistics operations fall within the current definition of “essential” business.
  • Road freight operations seem only to be hampered by availability of import volumes and export containers.

Asia Pacific Road Freight Update


  • The borders  with Afghanistan are currently closed for all commercial movements , except for food and medical supplies
  • Customs and terminals are operative with squeezed office timings , short of staff due to lock down , operations are continue  
  • The Federal and Provincial Government has exempted the movement of essential goods, such as food, medical supplies, and fuel can be shipped within and between the cities without any restrictions


  • Export shipment are experiencing serious delays in the gateway (4-5 days impact on the  clearance), Import is about 1 to 2day delays
  • There are currently no restrictions on in-country road freight shipments, however Hubei drivers are required to stay in quarantine for 14 days before heading to the border gateway
  • Vietnam border: Significant driver and equipment shortages and reduction of customs officers are causing inbound/outbound customs formality process delays. Drivers and vehicles are also required 14 days quarantines
  • Laos border: No significant impact
  • Thailand border: Padang Besar Border is currently closed, while the  Sadao Border is the only border thatis open and has an exemption for transportation, wherein 1 truck is only allowed with a single driver and the driver must go through health screening before entering into Thailand
  • Malaysia border: Movement Control Order- MITI approval required for all cross border shipment to be delivered to consignee’s premise. Singapore drivers are required to go into quarantine for 14 days after any travel in or out of Singapore
  • Singapore border: Non-restriction on commercial cargo for Cross border shipment

Middle-East Road Freight Update


  • The King Fahd Causeway connecting Bahrain with Saudi Arabia remains heavily congested, with only food and essential life science products currently permitted to be exported from Bahrain
  • The lead-time for a truck to arrive at Bahrain Customs at King Fahd Causeway from Khalifa Port is taking a minimum of 4 – 5 days (normal lead time is half a day)
  • The Saudi Arabia authorities have stopped issuing ‘Transit Visa’s’ for heavy duty drivers except for Food and Essential life science products and only from the Saudi embassy in Bahrain city instead of the Saudi immigration office at King Fahd Causeway
  • There are currently no local restriction imposed on in-country road freight transportation
  • Sea freight is the most common alternate mode of shipping being advised to our customers


  • Borders with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan remain closed
  • The border with Turkey, although there are currently severe delays and Turkish trucks are not permitted to enter Iraq and so have to transfer cargo to Iraqi trucks
  • Within Kurdistan, In country movement is allowed, however Government approval is required prior shipments
  • Within Iraq, Basra, Baghdad no road freight is permitted, however Agility is currently in the process of obtaining Government approval to allow truck movement deliveries to oil fields


  • The Jaber border with Lebanon is operating normally using back-to-back loading procedures for all cargo shipments
  • For all shipments via the Omari borders, arriving from GCC countries are delayed due to additional COVID19 test results certificates (Drivers unable to present the test result will be quarantined for 14 days before moving to their final destination in Jordan)
  • Amman and Aqaba customs are operating in split shifts and providing priority to food and healthcare products which is causing delays
  • Restrictions are in place for in-country road freight, with priority given to food and Pharma goods and permits required for all drivers
  • We are currently advising clients to use the sea freight where possible and Agility can provide storage solutions for any cargo delayed at Aqaba port


  • From Kuwait there are restrictions on the export of all food and medical items
  • The Saudi border is only allowing food, medicine, military cargo and relief items to transit through the land border and so Kuwait are unable to provide road freight services to The UAE, Bahrain, Jordan and Oman  
  • For local deliveries within Kuwait, we are working at limited capacity, as containers must be picked by 3.30 pm
  • Exemption passes can be obtained on a limited basis to carry out emergency deliveries 


  • Customs authorities are operating with minimum staff and reduced working hours, leading to delays of 1 to 2 days and currently only Lebanese drivers are currently allowed to cross the borders
  • There are currently no restrictions to In-country road freight movements


  • Customs clearance operations are continuing without any restrictions at all four road borders – Wajajah, Wadi Al Jizi, Khatmat Milaha and Hafeet in Oman
  • There are no restrictions for import trucks in entering Oman.
  • Oman registered trucks are currently not allowed to exit Oman for any GCC countries including UAE
  • The other GCC registered trucks are carrying backloads from Oman with restrictions as imposed by KSA government for both transit trucks and final delivery into KSA.
  • There are no restrictions yet for domestic deliveries and distribution

Saudi Arabia:

  • Imports into Saudi Arabia are moving as normal, however trans shipments are limited to essential products only (Medical supplies and food etc)
  • A curfew is in place, restricting the movement of goods via road freight except for food and medical supplies; Outside of the curfew all goods are able to move within the country, although there are restrictions within highly infected areas.
  • Agility trucks currently have permissions to move within the country during curfew
  • Road Freight Capacity is currently down by 20-30%, causing an increase in rates
  • Deliveries from the ports to customers in Saudi are also facing delay
  • All borders fees and rates remain the same but with delays: special sanitization process and dedicated driver checks are taking place at all borders and the new border process is causing delays of 1-2 days
  • All cargo is currently allowed in Saudi as a final destination from Kuwait, UAE and Bahrain
  • All borders with Yemen have been closed, except for Al-Wadeea and Yemeni trucks are not allowed to cross the border into Saudi Arabia (trans loading to Saudi trucks taking roughly 5 days)
  • Saudi trucks back loaded from Yemen with mostly Yemeni drivers, taking an additional 14 days due to extra COVID-19 precautions
  • Egyptian drivers are currently not allowed to enter KSA and as a result the majority of trucks coming from Egypt are trans loading the cargo on a locally operating trucks
  • From Jordan, only Jordanian and Saudi Arabian drivers and trucks are allowed to enter through the border
  • All cargo from Lebanon via road are trans loading to Jordanian or Saudi trucks at OMARI border (Jordan land)
  • All cargo from Syria via road are also trans loading to Jordanian or Saudi trucks at AL-JABER border (Jordan land)
  • The Iraq / Saudi border remains closed
  • We advise customers to ship cargo via sea and air where possible


  • Land borders between Turkey and CIS countries are subject to additional checks, but currently open without restrictions
  • Imports entering Turkey from the EU and CIS countries are currently facing lengthy delays and significant capacity constraints
  • Borders with Iraq are only allowing the movement of essential products, such as medicines and foods
  • There are currently no restrictions to in-country road freight

UAE (Abu Dhabi & Dubai):

  • There are current restrictions on transit routes to Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan due to the new Saudi Arabia transit rule which limits the driver’s transit visa issuance only through its local embassy (currently closed)
  • Only basic goods (Food , Medicine and relief shipments) are allowed entry into Saudi Arabia subject to The Food and Medicine Authority determination
  • We expect border delays due to  strict health screening of driver’s
  • For in-country road freight there is currently capacity issues with availability of drivers and equipment due to high market demand on distribution and export shipments
  • There is currently no road restrictions on in-country road freight
  • Strict health screening by sea port and airports on all trucks operating in those areas

Africa Road Freight Update


  • The Egyptian Customs Authority are working with restricted hours from Saturday till Thursday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
  • There is currently an imposed curfew being applied for the next 15 days on all roads from 7:00 pm – 6:00 am daily. During this period only food and essential medical supplies are allowed to move via road freight
  • Sea ports are closing at 4pm and local deliveries within Egypt are significantly delayed and are taking as long as 3 days


  • There are currently no restrictions on border crossing in and out of Kenya for road freight shipments
  • Health screenings for drivers are taking place which is causing some delays
  • There are currently no restrictions on in-country road freight shipments

South Africa:

  • Currently customs authorities are only processing essential products
  • All other borders except Ressano Garcia are closed indefinitely
  • There are restrictions on in-country road freight for only essential items only essential services however awaiting our government final feedback
  • Permit requirements – Awaiting feedback from our government department
  • We are advising customer to move goods by ocean where possibly and not road.
  • We are also assisting customer with storage facilities for their goods containers, LCL and airfreight.


  • Mozambique – has closed borders to both import and transit loads unless the load is on a Mozambican registered vehicle with a Mozambique citizen driving
  • Nyamapanda will allow foreign vehicles to transit only to Malawi if the vehicle is carrying essential cargo, and after drivers pass a health check

Please find here our Country Tracker

Ocean Freight Update

  • The impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has spread rapidly beyond China during the last few weeks. The biggest current impact is on space and container availability throughout the world.
  • The numerous vessel cancellations to/from China due to very limited available export volumes and have resulted in considerably less space and fewer containers available in all countries trading with China. We have listed an updated view for China’s major trading partners.

Origin: Europe

Expected Asia Eastbound constraints for March, including Middle East/Indian Sub-Continent and Oceania trades

  • European export trades are now being affected by the blank sailings and reduced vessel capacity that has resulted from the COVID-19 outbreak in China and the extended Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday there.
  • Currently only 20% to 30% of normal capacity is available from Europe to Asia in March.
  • Capacity will continue to be tight throughout March.
  • Carriers continue to impose Peak Season Surcharges of $200-$350 per container throughout Marchand will not accept any bookings for March unless shippers are willing to pay a premium.
  • The lack of reefer equipment availability and shortage of space remain.
  • Due to the critical situation, carriers are implementing Booking Cancellation fees for no-show bookings in the range of $100-200 per container.

Equipment shortages

  • Most of the carriers have announced Equipment Imbalance Surcharges for areas where shortages are especially acute.
  • There are still equipment shortages for dry and reefer containers.

European port operations and shipping lines:

  • All ports are functional and operating at 60%-80% due to reduced work force.
  • Shipping lines have implemented business continuity plans and announced that skeleton crews will do essential work in their offices with the rest of the staff working from home.

Origin: Asia

Export Volumes ex-China are recovering

  • After a large capacity reduction due to low demand after the CNY and the extended shutdown, the situation is improving with factories moving back into production.
  • The number of announced blank sailings has dropped for March and April, but with the recent developments worldwide nidicating falling demand, we expect more blank sailings to be announced again.
  • Production in China has re-started and volumes are increasing, however, we see a slow recovery due to recent developments in other countries.
  • Asia to North Europe and Mediterranean: current utilization levels are around 85% and demand and supply are still balanced with announced blank sailings to continue in March/April and probably beyond.
  • Transpacific: With production improving, blank sailings that are still in place, and route changes from USEC to USWC to shorten lead-time, vessel utilization is now reaching 95%. We expect this situation to last at least until mid-April..
  • ME, Indian Subcontinent, Intra-Asia: Volumes to Middle-East, Pakistan and SOuth East Asia are high with utilization above 90% and high rates.

Most carriers are back to normal operations

  • Carriers are operating as normal, very few still with flexible work-from-home arrangements.

Ports are fully operational, and volumes are almost back to normal levels in most ports

  • Ports are open and operational with improved efficiency.
  • Surplus of reefer containers has fallen substantially, leading to cancellation of the Reefer Equipment Surplus charge by most carrier, effective immediately.
  • Regarding DG containers, we recommend checking whether pre-approval is required before being accepted into terminals.

Trucking capacity is improving

  • Trucking capacity remains impacted somewhat due to lack of drivers and restrictions on inter-provincial trucking, but the situation is improving. Most Container Freight Stations (CFS) are open and operational, but shippers are advised check for cargo acceptance in advance.

Origin: Americas

Capacity Impact

  • As a result of Chinese New Year, postponed production, and Coronavirus regulation, there are fewer vessels departing China and completing their rotations to US ports and Central/SOuth America. The effect is greatest for the USWC, Mexico, Brazil and Chile.
  • US and South American exports to the Asia will experience some vessel capacity shortages as Transpacific vessel strings diminish sailings from the Far East. Export shipments are likely to be affected from late March to mid-May.

Port and Terminal Operations

  • Ports, terminals and rail ramps are operating under mostly normal conditions. Labor forces are somewhat diminished due to lower-than-expected import volumes, but this has only marginally affected productivity.
  • Temporary closures of 1-2 days have been experienced at North American ports, citing both the incidences of Covid-19 and low container volumes as causes. Effect on operations and shippers has been minimal so far.
  • Governmental guidance to “shelter in place” has not shut down any port/terminal/ramp operations as yet. Logistics services have been recognized and defined as “essential” businesses.

Equipment Shortage for Export

  • Fewer vessels and cargo are arriving into North and South America from the Asia trades, resulting in a lack of equipment replenishment.
  • US and Mexico inland areas are expected to be most affected with fewer containers being delivered to IPI points in coming months
  • Where equipment has traditionally been problematic (equipment deficit areas), we expect increasing scarcity
  • Locations not traditionally short of equipment may be impacted as export demand remains high
  • Main Seaports will likely maintain an equipment balance, but we expect shortages at US ports such as Oakland, Seattle/Tacoma, and Southeast Florida ports
  • Inland points across the region are now realizing shortage which requires carriers to reposition from other locations; particularly with special Equipment.
  • Carriers have announced GRIs for almost every trade to capitalize on equipment and capacity shortages.
  • Some carriers have announced Equipment Imbalance Surcharges (EIS) to address repositioning of empty containers to deficit areas.
  • Equipment availability and associated concerns are expected to last through late April.
Road Freight
  • No current indications of substantial road freight capacity issues. Though many governments have enforced a “shelter in place” rule, logistics operations fall within the current definition of “essential” business.
  • Road freight operations seem only to be hampered by availability of import volumes and export containers.
Warehouse and Distribution
  • As destination countries shutter receiving and retail operations, some areas of production in the Americas may need to review the ability to provide storage for export loads unable to ship. The US and other countries are reviewing capacity on a customer-by- customer basis as the need arises.
  • We are monitoring the need for warehousing space on import loads in case customers’ receiving facilities are unable to accommodate inbound cargo. Review is on a case- by- case and as-needed basis.

Rate Indication

  • GRIs have been filed in the SQST tariff by trade in order to ensure an upkeep with carrier increases
  • An Equipment Reposition Charge (ERC) has been filed into the SQST tariff in order to ensure a pass-through of carrier-related charges associated to the repositioning of empty equipment.

Origin: Middle East

  • We now see fewer blank sailings and increased capacity for imports from Asia to the Middle East, although that does not mean space is readily available to the Middle East. Capacity availability depends on the trade lane, particularly as we see seasonal demand increase in advance of the Ramadan season.
  • Space from Turkey and Egypt to the Gulf is very tight. Bookings with standard rates have to be placed at least two weeks in advance, and a confirmed booking does not guarantee containers will move because there are booking rollovers.
  • We saw an increase in demand and bookings as a result of the news that more countries and factories could completely shut down in the near future.
  • The situation in Africa is normal but may be affected by blank sailings. Equipment and space are available.

Rate Indication

  • Rates are still subject to all surcharges like PSS, GRI, RR, Equipment Imbalance.
  • Most of the carriers in and out have announced a rate increase that varies between $200-$350/dry and $500-$1,000/reefer.
  • We recommend placing bookings at least two weeks in advance.

Special Requirements

  • Saudi port authorities are asking shipping lines to provide certificates that crews are free of COVID-19 and are not calling on certain countries.
  • UAE is not allowing crew to get off calling vessels except in emergencies.


  • Due to shortages of staff and the lockdown in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, we are facing a slowdown in operations.
  • Dammam port is congested due to reduced turnaround of staff. (Personnel from Qatif city are under quarantine, where most of the customs clearance/port-related employees live.)
  • Until now, operations at seaport facilities have continued smooth operations without any special requirements or restrictions. There is no COVID-19 impact on physical cargo handling.
  • Jeddah port is heavily congested and affecting vessels’ operations at this transshipment point. Delays are expected in transit time for cargo aboard vessels calling on Jeddah port.


  • For exports, ex-Middle East and Gulf, it is important to note that the countries facing equipment shortages and space constraints are mainly Turkey and Egypt and to a certain extent the UAE, with some trade lanes affected such as outbound to the Americas.
  • Egypt is still facing a severe shortage of reefer containers due to heavy demand and non-availability of equipment that was blocked in China.
  • Neighboring countries — Jordan and KSA — have closed their land borders. All cargo from Egypt to GCC has shifted from road- to ocean freight, resulting in additional pressure and challenges to source equipment.

LCL Direct Services
(Europe to USA)

In today’s challenging supply chain environment, Agility is here to provide you with solutions that leverage the most direct LCL ocean services available.

New Express LCL Services
(USA to Europe)

Customers with high-priority LCL shipments now have the option to utilize Agility’s new Express LCL Service from the US to select European base ports.