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The impact on air, sea and road

An update on the COVID-19 impact we see on air, sea and road transport

We will do our utmost to help you mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and to keep our customers' supply chains moving. The past couple of months have shown that we can make no predictions, but this is how we see status on the major modes of transport.

Overall, while the situation remains far from normal, restrictions are being lifted and lockdowns eased slowly.


Overall, global air cargo capacity is now 25% lower than a year ago and freighters are key to keeping global supply chains running.

The decline in global widebody belly capacity seems to have bottomed out and has increased, in particular, from airports in APAC and the Middle East. Freighter capacity increases and is now approximately 20% higher than last year.  Despite the significant increase it cannot compensate for the massive drop in belly capacity.    

Freighter capacity has increased in almost all airports in Asia and the Middle East whereas the picture in Europe, the Americas and Africa is mixed. 

Recently, freighter capacity out of China has grown significantly and is now more than 80% higher than same time last year but outbound capacity remains constrained. Constrained airport are adding to the problem.

Air cargo capacity from Asia to North America (and Latin America) is extremely tight and we see all time high rates for charter capacity to the US. Simultaneously, massive reductions in Intra-Asian air cargo capacities has lead to extremely high rates. 

Demand for capacity from Asia to Europe is increasing and so are prices. Capacity from Europe to all destinations is significantly constrained and the rates are high. Capacity from North America to Asia and Europe is constrained.

Sea freight

Globally, most ports are fully operational, however, carriers maintain their already announced blank sailings programmes to keep rates from deteriorating in response to the lower demand. Void sailing programmes add to the capacity constraints and thus provide a foundation for rate increases. 

From Asia to Europe and Transpacific, shipping lines have taken out capacity equivalent to 3 million TEU as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Transatlantic from Europe to North America the highly volatile trend continues.

From Europe to Asia capacity is extremely tight and as a result rates hits new heights.

Road transport

Basically, we are operational everywhere, although in some places with interruptions.

In Europe, we remain operational everywhere although in Italy, Spain, Portugal and France with interruptions. The priority is on the flow of essential goods. Imposed restrictions at borders cause delays but in most cases these have become less significant. 

In North America, the restrictions at the US, Canadian and Mexican borders do not apply to road freight transport.

Apart from India, which is in total lockdown at the moment, different restrictions imposed at the borders between Asian countries result in interruptions and delays but generally cargo is being moved. 

If you have any questions, please reach out to your usual DSV contact person.