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Customer Advisory COVID-19

Since the COVID-19 virus has spread, we have extended our COVID-19 customer update. We have compiled and aggregated facts and figures across all business areas as well as covering all regions. Please continue to be engaged with your account managers on your latest plans, prices and projections. We continue to make every effort to support your business.

Global Market Updates

The market demand for air capacity remains strong as we are heading forward. For the time being, Europe remains the largest exporter of COVID-19 vaccines from a demand perspective, Western Hemisphere as well as certain countries like Israel announced and started the third vaccination campaign for the elderly from August 2021.

With the increasing number of emergency approvals and the planned production capacity (from 12.9 billion doses to 42.2 billion doses – as per UNICEF), we do observe an increase of COVID-19 vaccine production which will require increased distribution capacity. The situation in China also exacerbates the overall tension on the available capacity in the market. Countries that are today already involved in the healthcare sector are also highly involved in this increase in demand. This is a combination of either ingredients required to produce the vaccine or the finished vaccine itself.

Vaccine supply to the southern hemisphere is slowly showing some traction with humanitarian programs such as COVAX, GAVI or HOPE, however still at a much slower pace than expected. Even though shipments are limited, logistics challenges are far greater than in more developed countries as destinations are more difficult to reach due to extremely limited cargo capacity.

All supply chain partners will be required to closely collaborate to support the distribution and mitigate potential negative impacts or disruptions through the end-to-end transportation.

For successful distribution, storage, repacking, and administration of a COVID-19 vaccine, additional medical supplies are needed – including needles, syringes, alcohol prep pads, surgical masks and face shields, gloves, mixing kits and additional PPE. Being part of our integrated end-to-end healthcare services DB SCHENKERlife+ with licensed and regulated facilities, alongside dedicated and qualified staff, we offer all conceivable warehousing services to handle medical devices and PPE, while supporting respectively institutions and industries globally.

  • Global

(Oct 12, 2021) – The airfreight market and dynamics are accelerating again as market demand continues to rise and supply chain levels are limited considering the availability of freighter aircraft and high cost related to passenger freighter flights. Therefore, the market congestion has slightly eased through the lifted travel restrictions to and from the US, while carriers have started introducing planes back into service. The dependency on airfreight freighter operators and flights therefore remains high with no major increase in PAX flights into Q4 2021. The outlook remains challenging to manage the additional seasonal increase in volumes without having to largely utilize high yield-based passenger freighters and cargo flights from commercial airlines, while prices have recently surged, with no indication to return to previous known levels. Considering the already maxed out utilization of freighter aircraft currently placed in service.

Freighter aircraft operators have already started to conduct the required maintenance checks, expecting a return to service in support of peak season volumes.

The market is congested also considering the large impact of mode shift from ocean to air. Especially with a continuous increase of critical shipments being converted to airfreight, there is a significant increase in large shipments in the market that requires access to freighter capacity. This is adding pressure to the existing market imbalance of supply vs demand with no improvement in sight as the market is already in peak season. Facing the container vessel situation on the transpacific, combined with slow harbor servicing, transpacific volumes are expected to surge.

A critical point in the supply chain is the ground handling operations to ensure goods that are transported by airfreight are quickly turned around. The COVID-19 cases in key economies in Asia Pacific, such as China and Vietnam, but as well in Europe and North America has stabilized. In some markets, for example in China and in the US, the situation is still critical as ground handling and warehouse operations are restricted. Nonetheless, delays in inbound volume clearing have been observed and DB Schenker airfreight staff is coordinating closely with all stakeholders and alternative routings have been applied were deemed adequate.

Our DB Schenker own controlled network includes flights on following routes:

→ Fueled with SAF: Frankfurt (FRA) – Shanghai (PVG) – Frankfurt (FRA)
→ Beijing (PEK) – Frankfurt (FRA)
→ Chicago (ORD / RFD) – Seoul (ICN) – Shanghai (PVG)* – Chicago (RFD)
(*Note: Single flights might be routed into HKG instead of PVG)
→ Frankfurt (FRA) – Beijing (PEK)
→ Frankfurt (FRA) – Mumbai (BOM) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Atlanta (ATL) – Frankfurt (FRA)
→ Frankfurt (FRA) – Chicago (ORD / RFD) – Frankfurt (FRA)
→ Frankfurt (FRA) – Shanghai (PVG)
→ Frankfurt (HHN) – Shanghai (PVG) – Frankfurt (HHN)
→ Frankfurt (FRA / HHN) – Zhengzhou (CGO)
→ Hongkong (HKG) – Chicago (ORD)
→ Hongkong (HKG) – Frankfurt (HHN)
→ Hongkong (HKG) – Los Angeles (LAX)
→ Liege (LGG) – Shanghai (PVG)* – Luxembourg (LUX)
(*Note: This includes trucking to / from CGO-PVG / PVG-CGO)
→ Luxembourg (LUX) – Indianapolis (IND) – Luxembourg (LUX)
→ Shanghai (PVG) – Chicago (ORD)
→ Shanghai (PVG) – Frankfurt (FRA)
→ Shanghai (PVG) – Singapore (SIN) – Sydney (SYD)
→ Zhengzhou (CGO) – Frankfurt (HHN)
→ Zhengzhou (CGO) – Amsterdam (AMS)

Career Capacity Development 1-12/2020

More detailed information on this new flight schedule can be found by clicking here.

  • Europe 

(Oct 13, 2021) - All offices remain in full operation with access to terminal handling and ground transportation. Operationally, our linehauls to and from the hubs are running as scheduled. 

→ Please get in touch with your DB Schenker Account Manager for more information.

  • Asia Pacific 

(Oct 12, 2021) - There is no change in status nor operational updates from previous advisory. We continue to closely monitor all countries in the region.

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Spotlight: Greater China Update

There has been no change in the situation status since previous update, especially since China is coming out from Golden Week holidays last week.

As the situation is evolving, updates will be provided to our DB Schenker account management teams where necessary. We recommend being in close contact with your DB Schenker Account Managers for any further details.

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As more countries in the region are pivoting towards an endemic strategy, and cautiously re-calibrating the easing of measures, our priority remains focused on the health and safety of our workforce, as well as remaining vigilant in monitoring the situation to mitigate risk and events with potential impact to operations.

Our air freight operations remain available to support customer needs. Control measures remain in effect. Delays may be expected. Alternatives to transport cargo via other routes are being established and stop-gap measures for labor shortages are being deployed where necessary. Customers may contact the respective DB Schenker representatives for support or solutions if required.

Capacity is expected to remain volatile. Do refer to our Global Flight Network’s additional scheduled charter services for more solutions that can meet your needs.

→ To receive APAC daily customer advisories in your mailbox, please subscribe here.

  • Middle East/Africa 

(Oct 11, 2021) - Overall, DB Schenker’s air freight operations in the countries remain uninterrupted and we continue to serve our customers. For more detailed market updates related to Middle East and Africa, please click here (PDF).



No operational restrictions for air cargo business         

Angola, Bahrain, Egypt, Kenya, Namibia, Mozambique, Oman, Qatar, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UAE

  • Americas 

(Oct 13, 2021) - The anticipated ‘peak-season’ is well underway. Market demand is surging and carrier capacity is stressed.

Specific to the USA market: Volume moving is higher than found pre-pandemic, however in a transport infrastructure lacking sufficient personnel and suffering a slowdown of processes on the export side related to more stringent IACO security scanning requirements.

The situation creating terminal congestion and delays: All contributes to a more challenging air transport environment with imported cargo at the airport terminals being slow in releasing and export cargo often delayed in receiving. Specific to the Transpacific trade lane, challenges with Chinese airport terminals, most importantly in Shanghai, have created market cargo backlogs with imports as well as exports. Recent holidays in China add to the backlogs. With continued volatility in available capacity in the market, and challenges at the airport terminals, DB Schenker’s own controlled flight network, covering routes Transatlantic, Transpacific and intra-Americas, is providing secure space for our customers. Our airport-based offices are providing the necessary coordination to provide one of the fastest transitions of cargo possible. Our Rockford (RFD) gateway is supporting our flight operations into the Mid-West / Chicago area and providing an excellent alternative. DB Schenker is now in a newly constructed RFD airport facility ‘ramp’ adjacent to the aircraft with 30,000 sqft (2,800 m2) of warehouse space. This to be expanded with 100,000 sqft targeted for 2022. DB Schenker’s further investment and commitment in its own flight operations network will take us into 2022 and beyond.

Americas exports by trade-lane:

USA – Europe

→ Market demand continues moderate to strong from the USA. DB Schenker is maintaining multiple, weekly, 747 freighter flights from Chicago, Rockford, Indianapolis and Atlanta to Frankfurt and Luxemburg. They offer DB Schenker customers stable and secure access to capacity in what continues to be a volatile market situation.

USA – Asia (excluding China)

→ Capacity remains tight but on most trade lanes with critical situations remaining with destinations in Australia, Singapore and India. DB Schenker has large block space agreements in place to support these destinations from its key USA Gateways, as well as exclusive 747 freighter flight operations two times per week from ORD / RFD to Korea (ICN), that continues on to China (HKG as alternate for PVG as needed during the current market situation. DB Schenker is also adding ad hoc charters to Australia & Singapore to support customer demand for capacity.

USA – China Specific

→ Chinese governmental protocols for combating COVID-19 have affected the amount of cargo that can be processed at key airport gateways, resulting in reduced carrier schedules and at time limitations of cargo on board flights dependent on whether there is enough ground handling staff available to off load or load aircraft. This in the face of strong market demand in exports as well as imports between the USA and China. Market backlogs have developed with accompanying transit delays. DB Schenker as part of its own controlled flight network maintains 747 freighter flights from ORD / RFD into China. Use of HKG for landings as an alternative / substitute for PVG are being made as needed. The flight operations occur twice per week. DB Schenker has devised alternate airport transit options as an alternative to bypass destinations with the greatest challenges and has introduced ad hoc charters where and when needed.

USA – Latin Am / Latin Am to Europe and APAC

→ Intra-Americas: Capacity is in strong demand, with market backlogs affecting all major origins and destinations. Challenges related to freighter carriers schedule fluctuations continue. On the critical Miami to Sao Paulo trade lane, we have introduced weekly DB Schenker controlled flight operations from ORD to GRU as well as from MIA to VCP. Passenger flights continue to be well below pre-COVID-19 levels. This situation is affecting all transit between North and South America as well as Central America.

→ Latin America Exports: North American and European destination capacity is tight with the market suffering backlogs due to limited freighter capacity; missing passenger aircraft space and continuing strong demand.

USA / Latin Am to Middle East / Africa

→ South Africa with continued strong market demand and shortage of capacity.

  • Global

(Oct 12, 2021) – Global trade remains very strong, this is valid in particular for all trades ex and within Asia Pacific as well as all trades bound for the Americas. All trades are expected to grow positively during 2021. Forecasted container trade growth Graphic At the same time, the idle capacity remains almost nonexistent (currently at 0.7%) and almost all capacity has been deployed into the trades already. Overall, the supply side remains limited to some 3% which leaves a huge delta between market supply and market demand and thus leads to a high-rate environment. This trend is expected to continue in 2022. After having dealt with the ripples of the Suez blockage, the situation around the COVID-19 cases in Ningbo (earlier in Yantian) plus the missing infrastructure in the ports tighten the bottleneck on equipment and have a significant impact on the maritime schedules. Schedules in the main trades remain disrupted and reflect an ongoing capacity reduction of up to 25% weekly, through slid sailings, port omissions and other schedule recovery measures. The trades affected most are Asia to North America, Asia to Europe and vice versa, but also Europe to NORAM. There is no relief in sight for the next months.

Schedule Performance Graphic

Capacity Deployment over the next 10 weeks

Liftings after Golden Week appear stronger than expected. Also exports to Europe into the Western hemisphere (TA westbound as well as destination LATAM) continue to be very strong. The rate situation remains tense in the market. All main trades continue to show record rate levels, further increases are expected during the course of Q4.

Global Trade Management

The exceptional utilizations of the vessels expected to last at least until Golden Week in October; some trades report already a strong outlook until Lunar New Year in 2022.

Market rates are expected to stay high. Carriers focus on FAK and Premium segments and continue to play the market to their advantage.

We strongly recommend most accurate forecasts for optimal allocation and uplift planning as well as preventing infrastructure bottlenecks (related to availability of truck, rail, barge power).

Import free time in all markets has been generally cut to zero since the beginning of the year. The current circumstances make it very important for our customers to plan volume forecast (we advise 4 to 8 weeks in advance) and be flexible to re-route cargo (for congested destinations). Please expect the situation on all trades to remain subject to continuous changes.

With an uncertain outlook on vessel utilization and partly huge impacts on port terminals, we need to prepare for changing schedules and transit times, sudden / unexpected delays in uplift, increased bottlenecks of equipment availability, inconsistent departures and sudden surcharges possibly resulting in higher costs for the supply chain.

Our experts in Ocean will support and guide for

→ SchenkerOcean strategic carrier partnerships to ensure access to equipment and space on all trades.
Volume forecast and allocation planning: through access to volumes on all alliances and consultative volume planning (allocation match based on customer forecast) we ensure proper prioritization.
Conversion from SchenkerOcean FCL to LCL to ensure uplift of faster required part loads.
Resilient and sustainable shipping possibilities through mixed SchenkerOcean carrier portfolio.
→ Various cargo storage options (using own or contracted warehouses and store goods accordingly to ease the rush of cargo at the same time).
→ Use of inhouse options for airfreight, rail freight and combined modes of transport options.
→ Alternate FCL shipping options via breakbulk (on multipurpose vessels).

  • Europe

(Oct 13, 2021) - All European Ocean Freight Branches are fully functioning operationally.

  • Asia Pacific 

(Oct 12, 2021) - Notwithstanding the market situation as highlighted within Global Ocean Freight section, there are no significant updates on COVID-19 impacted operations as status remains unchanged.

As the situation is evolving, we continue to closely monitor all countries in the region, especially with the start of Q4 and the recently concluded Golden Week holidays in China. Updates will be provided to our account management teams where necessary. We recommend being in close contact with your DB Schenker Account Managers for any further details.

As more countries in the region are pivoting towards an endemic strategy, and cautiously re-calibrating the easing of measures, our priority remains focused on the health and safety of our workforce, as well as remaining vigilant in monitoring the situation to mitigate risk and events with potential impact to operations.

Our Ocean operations continue to be available to support customer needs. Delays could be expected in customs clearance and transportation. Stop-gap measures will be deployed where necessary.

→  Do reach out to your respective DB Schenker representatives for support or solutions where required.

→  To receive APAC daily customer advisories in your mailbox, please subscribe here.

  • Middle East/Africa 

(Oct 11, 2021) - DB Schenker is fully operational and available to manage the current demand from customers even though an equipment shortage has been seen in the region. For more detailed market updates related to Middle East and Africa, please click here (PDF).

  • Americas 

(Oct 13, 2021) - A lot of pressure still ex South America for all outbound trades: Tight equipment, in particular on the East Coast of South America, overly full ships. Pressure on allocation and equipment availability will continue in the coming weeks. Increased market demand for main commodities will continue, depending on the rate exchange which so far is looming a positive trend for exports in coming months.

  • Global

(Oct 13, 2021) - Europe Land is fully operational and available for business, managing existing COVID-19 constraints in European countries. Asia gives a heterogeneous picture with most countries fully operational and available for business while a few countries (such as India) are facing challenges, however operating. Asia Landbridge (China to South-East Asia) as well as Eurasia Landbridge (China – Europe Train) are fully operating, although facing congestions. Land operations in the Americas are also showing constraints, but still working close to normal.

  • Europe 

(Oct 13, 2021) - Some restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic are continuing to be in place in some European countries and are in parts directly or indirectly affecting the transportation of goods. DB Schenker Land Transport monitors the situation closely and reacts specially to border situations due to regulations imposed by individual countries. For any potential cases of disruptive conditions, we follow our pre-defined contingency plans to ensure flows of cargo as much as possible. In addition, we are adapting our transport service offerings daily to the needs of our customers.

Are you up-scaling or down-scaling your business activity in response to the changing market environment? DB Schenker Land Transport is your partner with one of the strongest and most resilient networks across 40 countries in Europe. Moreover, with our digital channels like connect4Land we offer a 24/7 entry point to our transport services, easy to use from everywhere, every time – Click. Ship. Done.

Europe Land Transport Heatmap Graphic

  • Asia Pacific 

(Oct 13, 2021) - Our Domestic Land product continues unabated to provide our regular high level of service. The situation in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and other APAC countries is being monitored closely as the local situations could lead to delays.

Our Asia Landbridge FTL / LTL road service is generally running to schedule.

Border Gateway observations

Border congestion due to high market demand may add between 1 and 3 days to Asia Landbridge. A global demand for containers due to Ocean and Air capacity constraints continues to put significant pressure on road assets across the region. DB Schenker staff at Asia Landbridge border offices continue to ensure lead-times are minimized and service levels maintained through “triage” prioritization. Additional labor and associated domicile costs are still required to strategically avoid lengthy quarantine periods for our international drivers. Our Domestic and International Land services continue to meet the high market demand and are strategically positioned to meet the forecast demand spike associated with ongoing reduced Ocean freight and Airfreight capacity. However, Customers are strongly urged to coordinate any volume spikes with their DB Schenker Account Manager as early as possible.

Congestion levels continue to fluctuate on our Eurasia service for Rail and Road. Please refer to table 1.

Low < 3 days, Medium > 3 days, High > 5 days Forecast transit time (CY-CY) westbound is 27 - 50 days and eastbound 25 - 35 days

Table showing the Westbound ETD delay and border congestion delay risks

CN / KZ, CN / MN, CN / RU congestion > 7 days

Brest / Mala congestion range 7 - 10 days

Westbound container stocks remain low and are contributing to delays.

Xi’an’s EB booking for sanitary goods & Shanxi Province deliveries may incur additional 3 - 7 days due to inspection.

Additional costs relating to disinfecting cargo will be imposed upon the relevant freight payer or consignee for all eastbound shipments.

We therefore recommend checking estimated lead times with your DB Schenker Account Manager.

→ To receive APAC daily customer advisories in your mailbox, please subscribe here.

  • Middle East/Africa 

(Oct 11, 2021) - Land transportation may be delayed in some countries due to additional checking. In some parts of the GCC, cargo movement has been restricted to food and essential items.

→ Please get in touch with your DB Schenker Account Manager for more details.

  • Americas

(Oct 12, 2021)

→ USA: Fully operational.
→ Brazil: Market is running in normal conditions. Commercial activities are working normally.
→ Canada: Most provinces maintain moderate restrictions, with some going to a vaccine passport program No carrier restrictions – capacity remains tight on LTL – particularly to / from western Canada.
→ Argentina: Commercial activities are working normally.
→ Chile: Ports and warehouse near ports working over their 150% capability. This situation continues to escalate since March 2021.
→ Mexico: Fully operational. COVID-19 cases in Mexico continue to rise.

  • Global

(Oct 13, 2021) – While noticing different governmental restrictions globally, our operations and customer services remain stable. We continue monitoring the situation in all regions very closely and persist in prioritizing the protection of our staff and keeping our customers’ businesses running. Therefore, we focus on dedicated guidelines and preventive measures, e.g. social distancing, wearing masks, temperature control, sanitizing stations, enhanced cleaning on site, having office-based staff working remotely and respective controlling of health and safety regulations.

To keep our customers’ businesses running, we are making additional efforts around short-term hiring and the training of new employees at various locations, including offering dedicated accommodation and transportation as well as and local testing. Sharing respective best practices regionally.

With our global healthcare quality framework, including regional and local competence centers, we support companies and institutions around the globe with handling of PPE and medical devices, to support successful distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

For short-term support we keep up our customer service offering:

→ In case you need temporary space, reach out to your DB Schenker Account Manager or local contact person!

  • Europe

(Oct 13, 2021) - All sites in our operations in Europe currently remain fully operational with precautionary measures in place for the health of workers.

  • Asia Pacific

(Oct 12, 2021) - There is no significant change in operational status for APAC countries generally from previous updates.

The situation in most countries is stabilizing. We continue to closely monitor all countries in the region, especially with the start of Q4 and the recently concluded Golden Week holidays in China.

As more countries in the region are pivoting towards an endemic strategy, and cautiously re-calibrating the easing of measures, our priority remains focused on the health and safety of our workforce, as well as remaining vigilant in monitoring the situation to mitigate risk and events with potential impact to operations.
→ For India, please refer to our India website for detailed information via download.
→ For most recent updates on Australia, please refer to our Australia website.
→ To receive APAC daily customer advisories in your mailbox, please subscribe here.

While governmental imposed restrictions in APAC countries continue at varying levels, our service levels so far are maintained with our CL operations available to support customer needs.

Delays may be expected due to availability of workforce and enforced hygiene and monitoring SOPs. Customers may contact the respective DB Schenker representatives for further support if necessary.

  • Middle East/Africa 

(Oct 11, 2021) - All DB Schenker contract logistics facilities in MEA are operational as per the appropriate health and safety standards and other regulations levied by the local government.

  • Americas

(Oct 13, 2021) - Our warehouses continue to operate with precautionary measures in place for the health of our people and hence keeping up our customer services.

→ USA: All operations in the USA remain operational with precautionary measures in place for the health of our people and delivery of services to our clients.
→ Mexico: COVID-19 numbers are still prevalent in Mexico. We are doing everything possible to minimize the impact to our personnel and facilities.
→ Canada: All Contract Logistics sites in Canada remain operational with health and safety measures in place for the safety of our associates and continued service.

DB Schenker Organizational Update

DB Schenker is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation. With precautionary measures in place, we are aiming to maintain full operability across all DB Schenker operations. In our offices across all continents, we have taken action to enable as many employees as possible to work from home to support the social distancing guidelines put in place by public authorities or the government in many countries. Our first priority is the health of our employees and partners. We adhere to the recommendations of health experts, especially WHO, related to, for example, hygiene precautions.

The next update will be sent on November 10th (or earlier should there be significant developments).

Please visit our website or your local DB Schenker website for ongoing updates and additional information.

Thank you for your patience and support.
DB Schenker COVID-19 Customer Advisory Team

Disclaimer: We have used our utmost care in providing the information above. While the information above has been provided to the best of our knowledge and ability, the DB Schenker Group does not assume any liabilities arising from this information or the use thereof.