Export Knowhow

The Corona outbreak and its impact on logistics

How to navigate the challenging situation that  the COVID-19 outbreak has created and find the best logistics solutions to mitigate the impact on your supply chains.


At DHL Global Forwarding (DGF), we would like to give you further update on the impact of the COVID-19/Coronavirus outbreak on DHL Global Forwarding’s operations in China, Italy and South Korea as well as the impact on Air, Ocean and Rail Freight transportation. The situation as of today, 11 March 2020, is as follows:


  • All DGF offices, except Wuhan, have now re-opened. Please refer to the appendix 1 ‘DGF Offices Re-open Dates’ for details
  • DHL’s pick-up, delivery and warehousing services in Hubei province continue to be suspended. We will resume our service in Hubei province, subject to local authority emergency controls.


  • The Italian Government regulation issued on Monday, 09 March 2020 to contain the COVID-19 outbreak has extended limitations to social activities to the whole country
  • Goods circulation is allowed across the entire country; therefore, there is no impact on import & export shipments handling at the moment. Pick-up and delivery services to/from the abovementioned areas operate as usual
  • In line with measures taken by local governmental authorities and to safeguard our employees, suppliers and third parties' health and safety,  DHL Global Forwarding Italy has put in place a number of preventive measures such as supplying truck drivers with personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Many airlines have reviewed their operational schedule to/from Italy with many flight cancellations impacting space availability
  • In line with security measures announced by the Italian Ministry of Health and other governmental authorities, DHL Global Forwarding Italy has activated a contingency plan including the set-up of a dedicated internal task force. The task force is closely monitoring the situation, coordinating with relevant governmental authorities and other partners, providing the necessary information and ensure that all activities comply with mandated safety measures for our employees, suppliers and other stakeholders.

South Korea

  • DGF offices and stations in South Korea remain fully operational. DGF South Korea continues to undertake necessary preventive and proactive measures to safeguard employees' health and safety and continue to manage day-to-day operations with little or no impact on our customers' shipments
  • International air freight capacity remains a challenge, however domestic operations in South Korea are unaffected as of today
  • At the moment, there are no void sailings or embargo announcements to/from South Korea from ocean freight carriers. However, delays of 2-3 days are to be expected in/out of ports, container yards (CY), container freight stations (CFS). Reefer exports are expected to be limited due to insufficient plug availability in terminals.

Below we would like to provide you with updates on the situation as to how it impacts DHL Global Forwarding’s Air, Ocean and Rail Freight operations and might be affecting your shipments:

Air Freight

Since DGF declared Air Freight Force Majeure 04 February 2020, COVID-19 has spread beyond China, causing more airlines to stop or curtail their services to/from China and other countries.  Due to the fluidity of the situation, DGF reserves the right to re-address the situation and potentially widen the force majeure scope by adding additional impacted air freight trade lanes other than to/from China.  

DGF shall be relieved of any liability under any contract for services to the extent that such liability is caused by the consequences of the outbreak of COVID-19.  

In addition to the force majeure situation for services to and from China, DGF reserves the right to modify all or part of its air freight services to and from China and any other affected countries, to change its working procedures and the agreed rates, to charge surcharges or otherwise to take measures to adjust its business operations and obligations towards customers to the then prevailing circumstances arising as a consequence due to outbreak of COVID-19.

DGF continues to work closely with its carriers and other partners to identify reliable options to transport shipments to and from China using alternative solutions such as charter flights.
We are pleased to share an updated overview of the dedicated roundtrip charter capacity for Europe-China-Europe and US-China-US lanes.  Please reach out to your account manager or customer service representative to discuss the possibilities of delivering cargo to/from China using charter flights.

Ocean Freight

The severe capacity and equipment imbalances, initially triggered by the halting export trade out of China and subsequent global ripple effects, caused ocean freight carriers to take measures and introduce a number of related surcharges. In turn, DGF also had to introduce an Emergency Cost Recovery Surcharge (communicated in Customer Advisory letters # 5, 6), and, in addition, a Reefer Emergency Cost Recovery Surcharge, which  is effective immediately, as follows:

  • All Americas export trades: USD 1,000 per container (i.e. 20’ and 40’)
  • All Europe export trades: USD 1,000 per container (i.e. 20’ and 40’)
  • All Asia exports to China, specifically Shanghai, Ningbo/Xingang: USD 1,000 per container (i.e. 20’ and 40’)

DGF reserves the right to provide additional updates on these rates, impacted trades, as the information further evolves going forward.

Rail Freight

All DGF Rail services, including FCL and LCL service from China to Europe (Westbound) and Europe to China (Eastbound), continue normal operations. Advanced capacity planning at this time is crucial. To secure rail capacity for your shipments, we would like to encourage our customers to book space for April 2020 train departures as space is allocated on ‘First booked – first railed’ basis.
Please reach out to your account manager or customer service representative to discuss the possibilities of delivering cargo to/from China using Rail services.

So far, there are no reports of DGF staff across the world becoming infected with COVID-19.  

DHL Global Forwarding is carefully monitoring the fluid situation around the Coronavirus and will be providing further updates in this regard when available.
Please rest assured that we will keep you updated on any changes to the current situation.  Should you need further information, have any concerns or queries, please feel free to contact your account manager or customer service representative.  


Webinar: Coronavirus

Is your company trading with or exporting to China? Are you unsettled by the current developments caused by the coronavirus and do not know what to prepare for and how? Then take part in our webinar and get a practical overview from China experienced companies and experts.

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