Coronavirus COVID-19 | June Updates

July 1, 2020

Read the latest on Operations and Carrier updates during the COVID-19 pandemic. For questions or comments, please contact us.

At Crane Worldwide Logistics, we continue to provide services to our clients and communities in need through the COVID-19 pandemic. As companies start to reopen and businesses return to their normal operations, we want you to know we support the transition. The supply chain is considered an essential service and critical to supporting the infrastructure for our communities. Guidelines are in place, and we are following all recommendations set forth by government agencies and health organizations at all of our facilities.

We have warehouse space available, ground transportation options globally and are continuing to book air charters and fill space on ocean carriers.

Find below updates regarding COVID-19 impacts for June 2020. To see our previous updates, please visit our Coronavirus COVID-19 Resource Center on our website.

Week 26 (June 29 - 30)

Ocean Operations

  • No container volume rebound until next year at earliest A burst of demand on the transpacific trades has given some hope of a peak season this year. But carrier blankings show they have already discounted the idea of any return to normal volumes. A recovery in demand will be ‘hard and fast’ but will not come before consumer confidence returns (Lloyds List June 25).

Commercial Air Operations Update

IATA released an information page listing the status of airlines globally, which is free for all to access. Visit the page here

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that demand for air freight dropped 27.7 percent, globally, in April compared to the same period in 2019 - the sharpest fall ever recorded. Still, there was insufficient capacity to meet demand as a result of the loss of belly cargo operations on passenger aircraft. IATA has released data for global air freight markets in April.

  • Global demand, measured in cargo tonne kilometers (CTKs), fell by 27.7 percent in April compared to the previous year (-29.5 percent for international markets).
  • Global capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometers (ACTKs), shrank by 42 percent in April compared to the previous year (-40.9 percent for international markets).
  • Belly capacity for international air cargo shrank by 75 percent in April compared to the previous year. This was partially offset by a 15 percent increase in capacity through expanded use of freighter aircraft.
  • The cargo load factor (CLF) rose 11.5 percentage points in April, the largest increase since tracking began. The magnitude of the rise suggests that there is significant demand for air cargo which cannot be met owing to the cessation of most passenger flights.

Aero Mexico - Announced Tuesday that it has filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition in New York bankruptcy court, joining the list of airlines to acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their business.

Emirates SkyCargo - Has enhanced its bellyhold operations with the resumption of Airbus A380 passenger services to and from London Heathrow and Paris from July 15. In addition, Emirates has announced that it will commence passenger flights (and thereby SkyCargo bellyhold operations) to and from Dhaka (from June 24) and to and from Munich (from July 15) using Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. On June 26, Emirates announced that it is offering bellyhold operations through its passenger services to Khartoum (from July 3), Amman (from July 5), Osaka (from July 7), Narita (from July 8), Athens (from July 15), Larnaca (from July 15) and Rome (July 15).

Qantas - Australian flag carrier Qantas has announced that it will be retiring its whole fleet of 747 aircraft and making 6000 job positions redundant as the carrier strives to cut its expenditure by A$15 billion over the next 3 years. The most impact by cost-cutting measures will be felt among Qantas employees with lay off of close to 20% of its workforce. The airline has said to be keen on bringing more employees back when the traveling restrictions will be lifted. Currently, Australia has closed its borders with possible reopening date reaching as far as mid-2021. As a way to cut costs, Qantas has chosen to retire its entire fleet of 6 Boeing 747 aircraft immediately. The withdrawal from service will see aircraft leaving around a half year earlier than previously expected. Also, 100 aircraft will be grounded for at least 12 months, with Airbus A380s being parked for even longer periods of time. Project Sunrise has been put on hold until industry recovers and airline is found in a more stable position. “This year was supposed to be one of celebration for Qantas. It’s out centenary,” Joyce told. “Clearly it is not turning out as planned.”

Virgin Australia - Woes are seemingly over, as the airline that entered administration in April 2020, found its hero to save it from liquidation. Bain Capital, U.S. based investment firm, announced that it entered into an agreement with the carrier’s administrators to become the new owners and operators of Virgin Australia. The debt-ridden carrier entered administration during the peak of the corona crisis in aviation when the majority of airlines around the world were grounded. Despite the very unfriendly environment for investors, Deloitte, the administrators of Virgin Australia, indicated that they received over 20 bids for the airline. The finalists of the bidding process were the newly-enacted owners Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners, another investment firm based in the United States.

Ground Transportation Operations

United States

  • Total spot load postings in the system rose nearly 11% over the prior week during the week ended June 26 (week 25), edging out week 10 as strongest for spot loads since July 2018. Volume was 20% higher than the five-year average for week 25 even though the week is traditionally one of busiest of the year for the spot market. Growth was especially strong in dry van and refrigerated, both of which had also posted strong gains in week 24. Spot rates also were up sharply in both segments.
  • Dry van spot volume was up nearly 17% over the previous week. Loads were 36% higher than last year and 31% above the five-year average. Dry van spot volume was the highest in just under two years. As was the case the week before, loads were up by double-digit percentages in all regions. With truck availability declining in week 25, the dry van Market Demand Index – the ratio of loads to trucks in the system – surged too far beyond the extreme 2018 level.
  • TL spot rates have inflected back positive y/y. TL capacity felt increasingly tight in late June, and if we don’t see a seasonal lull in early July, TL pricing power could start rapidly improving.
  • A research note from UBS suggests that falling Class 8 tractor sales paired with lower employment in the trucking industry point to lower capacity moving forward, which could mean a more expensive contract season for shippers. "We expect a combination of lower capacity and a rebound in freight activity to support mid-single-digit contract pricing in the 2021 bid season," UBS analysts wrote.
  • The national average retail price of diesel rose for the fourth consecutive week, half of a penny to $2.43 a gallon, according to data the Energy Information Administration released June 29. Even with the increase from $2.425 the price of trucking’s primary fuel is 61.2 cents a gallon less than it was a year ago. The price of diesel increased in seven of the 10 regions of the country surveyed by EIA.
  • Trucking insurance rate trends continue in the wrong direction. In the last five years, trucking companies have watched their insurance rates climb and those trends are nowhere near reversing and continue to head in the wrong direction Nuclear verdicts or judgments against carriers in excess of $10 million, have increased pressure from plaintiff attorneys on the trucking industry.


Global Border Crossing Status and restrictions

Facilitated by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe read more here

Land Borders

Sixfold have a free application that maps out European borders with live information on crossing times read more here

  • Road freight industry needs €75bn from the EU to recover from the pandemic - Trucking industry association the International Road Transport Union (IRU) is calling on the EU to hand the industry €75bn in post-coronavirus recovery support. The demand follows news of the EC’s proposed €750bn coronavirus recovery fund. (Loadstar, June 23).

Updates by Country/Territory

Brazil: On June 20, the government extended the measure of closed land and air borders for foreign nationals through July 6, while commerce may continue as normal. This restriction excludes permanent residents, diplomats, or international organization officials.

Canada: On June 30, the Government of Canada extended the Emergency Order requirements related to mandatory isolation and quarantine until August 31, 2020, for travelers entering Canada. Anyone entering Canada—whether by air, land or sea—will continue to be required to isolate for 14 days if they have COVID-19, or have reasonable grounds to suspect that they have signs and symptoms of COVID-19, or quarantine for 14 days if they do not have signs and symptoms of COVID-19. These measures remain in place until at least July 21.

Colombia: Bogotá Mayor Claudia López began the capital’s reopening on June 15, with staggered work hours for construction, commercial centers, domestic, and informal workers. Those workers who can work from home will continue to do so. On June 14, Duque announced that municipalities will be allowed to start their respective plans for domestic air travel, and municipalities with no confirmed COVID-19 cases may reopen restaurants and religious services. The country’s borders remain closed, domestic suspended, and inter-municipal travel banned through June 30. Transportation Minister Angela María Orozco said on May 20 that international flights would not resume before August 31.

United Kingdom: Travel restrictions are likely to be relaxed this week in what is being seen as a major boost to the hospitality sector. From July 6th, holidaymakers are likely to be allowed to travel to a number of European countries without having to spend 14-days in quarantine when they return. Currently, all overseas travelers are requested to self-isolate for two weeks when arriving back in the UK. With details to be confirmed next week, visitors to Spain, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Turkey, Germany, and Norway will now likely be able to avoid quarantine. Portugal and Sweden, which have rising rates of Covid-19, are set to be excluded.

United States: The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has backed down from an earlier ban on Chinese carriers, allowing them to fly up to four weekly flights between Mainland China and the US. The move comes after the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) eased international flight restrictions further on 8 June, allowing more carriers — including those from the US — to operate flights into the country.

Week 25 (June 22 - 28)

Ocean Operations

Asia / Oceania

  • Blank sailings are extended through Q3.
  • The Alliance and 2M alliances announced 75 sailings will be canceled through September 2020.
  • Through June, 126 blank sailings took place.
  • From the Far East to North America, currently, 35 blank sailings are announced from week 24 to 29 and 8 more blank sailings between weeks 24 and 28 from the Far East to Europe.
  • We would suspect the congestion surcharge to be announced by ocean carriers soon.
  • Advanced bookings are very important and are recommended for all trade lanes.

United States

  • Most terminals are working normal hours. For locations and terminals working at reduced hours, please check with respective ocean carriers directly regarding last free day, returns, or demurrage/detention.
  • Advanced bookings are recommended as capacity is tight to all destinations.

Ocean Port Operations Status

  • Seattle: Fri 6/26 – T18 and T30 all day closed.
  • Tacoma: Fri 6/26 – PCT all day closed.
  • Los Angeles/Long Beach:
    • Wed 6/24 – PCT and YTI 1st shift closed. APMT all day closed.
    • Thu 6/25 – YTI 2nd shift closed.
    • Fri 6/26 – All terminals' 2nd shift closed.
  • Virginia: Portsmouth Marine Terminal will be closed starting May 04, 2020. Cargo volumes will be consolidated to other terminals.

Commercial Air Operations Update

Airlines are continuing to reduce their use of cargo-only passenger flights as regular passenger operations re-start and rate declines put pressure on the profitability of such services. In a mid-June trading update, Cathay Pacific said that in the future it would consider reducing its cargo-only passenger flights. And this week, the South China Morning Post reported that the airline had told staff that cargo demand has been tapering off, and as a result, there will be cancellations of cargo-only passenger aircraft flights, with the commercial decisions made closer to the time of the flight. The carrier mounted around 900 pairs of cargo-only passenger flights in May, primarily serving long-haul destinations in North America, Europe, and Australia. As well as lower demand and rates, fuel prices have also been rising to put the economics of these services under pressure.

Latam Argentina - LATAM subsidiary in Argentina, LATAM Argentina, is ceasing operations effective immediately. While the Argentinian subsidiary is suspending operations “for an indefinite period,” the South American airline group is already preparing for a post-COVID-19 future, according to the group’s CEO. The move was done to respond to current market conditions, as the difficult situation in LATAM Argentina was “exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” in addition to the difficulty of negotiating with “local industry actors.” Thus, the parent company no longer saw “a viable and sustainable long-term project,” stated the press release, announcing the closure of the Buenos Aires-based company. LATAM Argentina was established 15 years ago. It carried 3.1 million passengers throughout 2019, of which 2.5 million were in the domestic market. The Argentinian company operated a fleet of 13 Airbus A320 aircraft, with an additional five Boeing 767s that gradually left the company since June 2018. The last example (registered LV-IQW, now N544LA) left the fleet in December 2019. “This is regrettable but inevitable news. Today, LATAM must focus on transforming the group to adapt to post-COVID-19 aviation,” stated the CEO of LATAM, Roberto Alvo. “Argentina has always been a fundamental country for the group and will remain so, with LATAM’s other affiliates continuing to connect passengers from Argentina with Latin America and the world.” The company indicated that International flights to and from the country will continue, but domestic operations will not be replaced by LATAM’s other subsidiaries.

South African Airways - Which has been under a business rescue process since December 2019, attracted interest from private investors and airline partners to establish a new airline in South Africa, stated a publicly issued letter by the South African Department of Enterprises (DPE). The debt-ridden South African Airways has relied on government aid to navigate through a tough financial situation. However, in December 2019, the airline reached a tipping point and entered business rescue processes. The Department of Enterprises stated there were numerous parties, including private funders, equity investors, and even airline partners, willing to invest and participate in “a new national airline that must emerge from the SAA business rescue process. ”Government has expressed its intent and commitment to fundamentally restructure and transform SAA into a viable, sustainable, and competitive national carrier. “While the DPE highlighted that private investors are lining up at its doors to invest in the Johannesburg-based airline, the government is keen to establish a new airline under the same name to rid it of “legacy financial and operational issues,” as the new company would be managed by “competent, competitive and skilled personnel” to ensure the success of the “new” South African Airways. Going forward, the airline would downsize significantly and would go from 5,000 employees and 44 aircraft in its fleet to 2,900 staff and 26 jets in its post-COVID-19 state, indicated a plan released by the Business Rescue Practitioners (BRP) in early-June 2020. A further injection of $578 million (ZAR10 billion) would also be needed if the government wanted to keep the airline in one piece.

Charter Operations and Aircraft Availability

What charters does Crane have available?

  • Capacity is available for charters globally, contact us for current rates and availability. 
  • We have seen opportunities for part charters (20 tons and up) recently, but not seen regularly.  
  • If you have an opportunity, send us the details, and we can work on current, part charter capacity, and pricing. Charter prices are based on current availability, and that could change rapidly. Size and rates have been fluctuating a lot over the past few days.
  • Crane Worldwide must have a signed charter authorization from our client before we can sign the charter contract with the provider.  Make sure you have someone standing by to sign agreements, capacity, and rates change quickly.
  • On all charters, funds must be received from our client before wheels up.

Ground Transportation Operations

United States

  • Spot market demand for dry van truckload shipments picked up steam again last week, with retail freight leading to tighter capacity, and large increases in load-to-truck ratios for each major trailer type and higher rates as we head into the Fourth of July. Businesses continue to reopen, driving demand in the eastern half of the country and in Texas. Summer online sales are also fueling retail demand, with heightened activity in warehousing markets. That pushed national averages for van and reefer rates above where they were before the coronavirus crisis in February, excluding fuel surcharges. The national flatbed rate is just 1 cent short of that mark.
  • Truck tonnage in May declined 9.6% compared with year-ago levels, the steepest seasonally-adjusted year-over-year percentage drop since a 10.7% decline in June 2009, American Trucking Associations reported. Spot load volume in the system rose more than 11% during the week ended June 19 (week 24) over the prior week as loads were up in all key segments. Load volumes for week 24 exceeded the five-year average and 2019 levels by about 7% and more than 2%, respectively.
  • According to Freight Waves, truckload capacity will ratchet tighter this summer and into the fall.  Spot markets are heating up because trucking capacity is tightening across the country. Freight Waves often cites the benchmark of a 7-10% tender rejection rate as the inflection point where trucking markets see sustained inflation in spot rates. Yesterday, on a national basis, large asset-based carriers rejected 9.39% of loads tendered to them.

Updates by Country/Territory

Ireland: Quarantine for those arriving from other countries extended to at least 09 July.

Spain: Borders re-open to most European countries as the state of emergency comes to an end.

Thailand: International flights expected to resume in September at the earliest.

UAE: Dubai will allow some foreign tourists to enter from 07 July.

Week 24 (June 15 - 21)

Ocean Operations

  • Two hundred thousand seafarers stranded on ships because of tight port restrictions and canceled flights due to Covid-19. While some hubs like Singapore and Hong Kong are easing restrictions to help seafarers release, most crews remain stranded on ships.

United States

  • Advanced bookings are recommended as capacity is tight to all destinations.


  • Carriers show their hand, Q3 blank sailings proliferate. Carriers are now showing their hand, giving an indication of prospects for global trade in the second half of the year. The prognosis is not good. Lines in two of the three main alliances have now started announcing blank sailings for Q3 with Copenhagen-based Sea-Intelligence reporting 10-15% of capacity has already been removed on the Asia-Europe trade lane for the third quarter while 5 to 10% has been axed so far on the transpacific to both west and east coasts of North America. Blanked sailing numbers for May and June on these two main trade lanes stood at approximately 20%, keeping freight rates high. (Splash247, June 8).

Commercial Air Operations Update

Cathay Pacific Cargo - Said that cargo was the highlight of its May performance despite a near 30% year on year drop in cargo carried. The Hong Kong-hubbed airline group, which this week look set to secure a HK$39bn government bailout, saw cargo and mail revenue tonne kms fall by 29.1% year on year in May to 667m. Cathay Pacific has announced that it will slowly ramp up its operations during months of June and July. During the month of June Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon will operate only 3.5% capacity, a 0.5% percent increase from capacity operated in May.

Delta Air Lines - Has made significant changes to its business in response to the current challenges of COVID-19. They are adapting daily to the changing processes and circumstances but working harder than ever to deliver your shipments safely. Challenging times drive Delta teams to innovate and think about how to stay reliable and relevant with business partners. Their website,, is central to this commitment. Below is an outline of their recent initiatives and efforts.

  • Network: “In June, we more than doubled international capacity across the Atlantic as we returned to Frankfurt (FRA), London-Heathrow (LHR), Tel Aviv (TLV), and Lagos (LOS); and ramped up service to Amsterdam (AMS) and Paris (CDG). In July, we plan to add Sydney (SYD), Tokyo (HND), Accra (ACC), Athens (ATH) and Lisbon (LIS); followed by Barcelona (BCN), Madrid (MAD), Munich (MUC), Rome (FCO), Milan (MXP) and Dublin (DUB) in August. Delta is now three months into dedicated cargo flying. To date, we have organized over 700 cargo-only flights at a weight of 7.4 million kilos on five continents. We were also the first U.S. passenger airline approved by the FAA to transport goods in the passenger cabin by utilizing overhead bin space. Delta teams are working diligently exploring additional solutions, including options to carry more freight in the passenger cabin by utilizing and removing seats.
  • Fleet: As many of you may have read, Delta will be retiring our B777’s by the end of 2020. This was a strategic action to remove one of the oldest and smallest wide-body variants in our fleet. This positions Delta favorably to accept new and efficient widebody aircraft as the market demand drives the need in the coming years. In the meantime, our customers will continue to see the B777’s in passenger service and some available in cargo-only operations for the remainder of 2020. On the domestic side of the business, Delta, fortunately, was deep into its narrowbody fleet revitalization. Having inducted a large number of A220’s, A321’s and B737- 900’s prior to COVID-19, we were able to expedite the planned retirement of all MD88 and MD90 aircraft by the first week of June 2020.
  • Facilities: Given the reduced demand, Delta Cargo has been forced to adjust facility locations as well as hours of operation. We have implemented mask-wearing guidelines, social distancing guidelines, deep cleaning measures, and employee temperature checks; and worked with our vendors to encourage the same.”

Lufthansa - All sides, including the German government, the European Commission, and the airline‘s own executive and supervisory boards approved the $9.8 billion (€9.0 billion) state aid package. The company had just one more hurdle to clear – its shareholders. However, the hurdle might become too high. At the forefront of the revolt is Heinz-Hermann Thiele, the largest single shareholder of the airline. Thiele publicly criticized the terms and conditions of the deal, including the lack of transparency from the Lufthansa’s chairman, Carsten Spohr. The shareholder, who planned to increase stake at the airline to 15%, indicated having concerns that Spohr did not disclose all the options available to the German airline group. In response, Lufthansa warned that the stabilization package was “not secured”. If the stabilization package is not approved by shareholders on June 25, 2020, the airline “would possibly have to apply for protective shield proceedings under insolvency law,” if no other solution is found immediately. Protective shield proceedings, a procedure similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States, would allow the airline to restructure business while being protected from its creditors. However, a lot of fat would have to be trimmed in order to sustain liquidity, which could strain the carrier’s relationships with unions and negatively impact its credit rating, hindering prospects of growth in the future. The company publicly pleaded its shareholders to attend the extraordinary general meeting on June 25, and to vote in favor of the conditions attached to the state aid. Attendance seems like a crucial factor: if there are less than 50% of shareholders present, a decision needs to amass a two-thirds majority of votes in order to be accepted. If more than 50% of shareholders are present, the decision needs a simple majority vote to pass. Currently, Lufthansa expects that less than half of its shareholders would be present at the meeting. The company indicated that in Q1 2020 it burned through $896 million (€800 million) liquidity reserves per month. Furthermore, Lufthansa stated that it has a surplus of around 22,000 full-time positions due to the current coronavirus pandemic. It expects that those jobs will be lost permanently.

Norwegian Air - Following a 300 million dollar bailout, The Oslo-based low-cost carrier announced that due to increasing demand from its passengers and other carriers upping their frequencies in Europe, Norwegian will increase the scale of its operations starting July 1, 2020. In total, the airline plans to resume flights on 76 routes across the continent and add 12 aircraft to serve the resumed services, indicated Norwegian in a statement. As of now, the low-cost carrier has operated eight aircraft on domestic routes in Norway, as it was obliged to do so after receiving a state-guaranteed loan from the Norwegian government. The restart, scheduled for July 1, 2020, will focus on leisure destinations, including Greece, Spain, and other “key European cities,” stated the airline. Furthermore, as a result of 12 aircraft returning to service, the company will return around 200 pilots and 400 cabin crew members from furloughs. All in all, more than 300 pilots and 600 cabin crew members will return to work as Norwegian ramps up its operations. “Feedback from our customers has shown that they are keen to get back in the air and resume their travels with Norwegian beyond the current domestic services that we have been operating,” stated the chief executive of the airline, Jacob Schram. “Norwegian is returning to European skies with the reintroduction of more aircraft to serve our key destinations which will ensure that we remain in line with competing carriers.”

South African Airways - As part of an ongoing restructuring process and effort to salvage South African Airways and maintain the airline as South Africa‘s main state carrier, a rescue plan involving a 10 billion rands ($580 million) capital injection was proposed by the airline‘s administrators to the South African government yesterday. This proposed bailout will be separate from the previous $950 million provisionally set aside by the government to cover the airline‘s debt and debt-service costs. However, the proposed business plan revealed that this new capital will allow the airline to maintain a substantial portion of its route network as it restructures. From the $580 million mentioned in the release, $163 million will be set aside to maintain operational working capacities, $128 million will address the current layoffs and $174 million will cater to the costs amassed from unused tickets. The remaining $133 million will be split between lessors and creditors with the former receiving $99 million and the latter, $34 million. As reported by Reuters, the South African Public Enterprise Ministry expressed in a statement that it will review the proposed plan and that it expects that it will lead to “a competitive, viable and sustainable national airline“. Although the airline is projected to make losses of over 6 billion rands ($349 million) over the next 3 years, a reduction in its staff and fleet capacity was stated to be beneficial, as it would only need 1000 staff and 6 aircraft to navigate this period of travel restrictions as compared to its current capacity of 5000 staff and 44 aircraft.

Virgin Atlantic - To resume some flights in July.

Ground Transportation Operations

United States

  • The May edition of the Cass Freight Index, from Cass Information Systems, showed that the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on freight transportation shipments and expenditures remains intact.
  • Many freight transportation and logistics executives and analysts consider the Cass Freight Index to be the most accurate barometer of freight volumes and market conditions, “The index for both shipments and expenditures remained at recessionary levels and came in >20% below May 2019,” wrote David Ross, the report’s author, and transportation analyst at Stifel. “We were surprised not to see more of an uptick; the reopening schedule appears to have unfolded slower than we anticipated.
  • However, post-Memorial Day business re-openings and produce harvests are pumping more freight into the US truckload spot market, raising spot rates from low points hit in April and May. But that doesn’t necessarily signal a “V-shaped” recovery from the recession. Spot rates are likely to flatten or drop in seasonal fashion after the Fourth of July holiday, said Ken Adamo, chief of analytics at DAT Solutions. “I do think our modeling is bearing out that the spot market should slow down considerably post-Fourth of July.”
  • While reefer and flatbed volumes on the spot market continued to climb, dry van volume, which accounts for about 70 percent of all truckload shipments, slipped compared to the previous week.
  • A majority of the top 100 van lanes still saw increased prices last week, but it wasn’t the overwhelming majority that we saw in prior weeks. Projections from Ratecast by DAT iQ suggest that rates are plateauing.
  • “All signs are cautiously optimistic,” said Stephen Bindbeutel, an analyst and director of products at “There’s still a lot more ground to cover, but it’s nice to see it’s normalizing a little bit here in the short term.” The company’s loadboard last week saw a 30.7% jump in load postings from the week prior, while the number of truck postings was flat.
  • A federal waiver scheduled to expire on June 30 giving drivers with expired commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) and medical cards extra time to get them renewed has been extended through September 30.
  • Rail volumes declined 16.2% y/y, relatively improved from -18.6%, and -18.9% the prior 2 weeks and the smallest decline in the past 11 weeks. Absolute volumes increased 5% sequentially from last week, intermodal volumes declined less than 10% y/y for the first time in 14 weeks.
  • The $46 billion-a-year less-than-truckload (LTL) sector is faring relatively well economically during the downturn in freight demand as a result of closures associated with the COVID- 19 Pandemic. Analysts point to newfound pricing discipline, more accurate rating due to precise dimensional pricing, and more reliance on home deliveries in the surging e-commerce market as reasons why the LTL sector is faring better economically than the larger $340 billion truckload sector.

Updates by Country/Territory

China: On June 17, 2020, over 1,200 flights from and to Beijing airports were canceled as concerns of a possible second wave of coronavirus COVID-19 in China rose. The country’s authorities are trying to contain a new coronavirus outbreak linked to a wholesale food market. In recent days, over 130 new patients were detected. International flights were already barred from entry into Beijing, as the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced the decision on June 11, 2020, citing “epidemic development.” International flights were diverted to 16 other Chinese “entry-point” cities. China has also closed schools and urged residents not to leave the capital city. The news comes after China’s domestic market showcased signs of recovery, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The association highlighted that flight levels in the country have bounced back to about 22-28% lower by late- May compared to the same period a year before. In February 2020, the domestic market was down as much as 85%, showcased IATA’s data.

Poland: Reopens borders with Germany, Czech Republic & Slovakia. Border controls relaxed with Lithuania.

Saudi Arabia: While domestic flights resumed May 31, international flights remain suspended.

United Kingdom: Anyone arriving in the UK from anywhere in the world apart from Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands will have to provide an address where they will remain isolated for 14 days.

Week 24 (June 08 - 14)

Ocean Operations

United States

  • Cargo volumes at the Port of Long Beach rose last month as the economic fallout from COVID-19 pandemic finally shows signs of recovery.
  • Dockworkers and terminal operators at the port moved a total of 628,205 TEUs of container cargo last month, a 9.5% increase from May 2019, the port reported Tuesday. Imports also grew 7.6% to 312,590 TEUs while exports climbed 11.6% to 134,556 TEUs. Empty containers headed back overseas jumped 11.4% to 181,060 TEUs.
  • The May figures mark the first month in 2020 that cargo shipments rose at the Port of Long Beach, and followed seven consecutive months of declines attributed to the U.S.-China trade dispute and the COVID-19 epidemic. (gcaptain – June 10).

Commercial Air Operations Update

Emirates - Like many airlines around the world, Emirates was forced to cut its costs and scale back its operations in order to ensure its survival during the crisis. The Dubai-based carrier once again let go of staff in order to reduce its expenses. The first round of layoffs was announced publicly on June 1, 2020, via the Dubai Government’s media office. An Emirates spokesperson stated that the airline is continuously reassessing its situation. It will “have to adapt to this transitional period,” indicated the representative. On June 9, layoffs continued at the airline, as more pilots and flight attendants were given the notice that they were let go from working at the carrier. On June 10, 2020, layoffs continued, marking the second day in a row that employees were informed of the termination of their contracts, reported Reuters, citing sources at the airline. Previously, it was rumored that the company wants to reduce its workforce by 30,000 and to permanently retire 46 Airbus A380 double-deckers. addition, those that are still going to be employed by the airline will have their salary reduced by 50%, starting July 1. The salary cuts are set to continue until September 30, 2020. The president of the airline Tim Clark stated that “some degree of normality” would return only by 2022/2023 or 2023/24, depending on a multitude of factors, including a vaccine.“There could be an uptick if a vaccine for the new coronavirus is found. But the next six to nine months will be tough for the airline industry,” predicted Clark.

Qatar Airways - says it has enough liquidity on its own and does not need the government’s help to survive the crisis. Furthermore, the company would support its investments like IAG or the now-bankrupt LATAM airlines, if the need arises, according to the company’s CEO. Specifically, the biggest question mark was LATAM Airlines, a South American airline group that has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States. Despite the current pandemic and troubled situation of LATAM, Qatar Airways is now the second shareholder of the company to reiterate its support for the Chile-based airline. “LATAM has filed for Chapter 11, and as the court decides, we will be there to support the company,” stated Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways in an interview with local media on June 8, 2020. The Qatari carrier joined Delta Air Lines in the continued support of their agreements and investments in LATAM. Al Baker noted that the airline’s investments are only for the long term, as the decision to invest in three major airline groups was purely a strategic move. “We will continue to assist them if they require our assistance.” The chief executive also mentioned that Qatar Airways will continue to support International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and other subsidiary airlines that operate above Europe.

Week 23 (June 01 - 07)

Ocean Operations


  • Blank sailings are extended through Q3.
  • The Alliance and 2M alliances already announced 75 sailings will be canceled through September 2020.
  • Through June, 126 blank sailings took place.
  • From the Far East to North America, currently, 35 blank sailings are announced from week 24 to 29 and 8 more blank sailings between weeks 24 and 28 from the Far East to Europe.
  • We would suspect the congestion surcharge to be announced by ocean carriers soon.
  • Advanced bookings are very important and are recommended for all trade lanes.
  • APL vessel’s lost containers included surgical masks
    • Among the debris washed ashore on beaches near Sydney were surgical masks after Singapore-flagged APL England lost 40 containers overboard in bad weather early on Sunday
    • The ship docked at the Port of Brisbane on Wednesday. Australian authorities will investigate its compliance with safety and environment rules (Lloyds List, May 27)
    • Blank sailings From the Far East and Europe will impact capacity for the coming six weeks.

United States

  • Most terminals are working normal hours. For locations and terminals working at reduced hours, please check with respective ocean carriers directly regarding last free day, returns, or demurrage/detention.
  • Advanced bookings are recommended as capacity is tight especially to the Far East, India Sub, and the Middle East.

The Middle East / India / Sub-Africa

  • India: There are backlogs in most of CFS. Import containers are pending stripping for almost a month.


  • Ocean operations and terminals are mostly back to normal.

Commercial Air Operations Update

Air Canada - Is seeking government approval to add five new destinations in Europe and South America to its air freight network starting June 1. The company is trying to take advantage of the demand for cargo capacity even as passenger travel demand remains stagnant. If approved, the Canadian flag carrier would operate air freight deliveries from its hub in Montreal to Bogota, Lima, Amsterdam, Dublin, and Madrid. (Flight Global, May 28)

Emirates - Adds 12 more countries to its schedule. Bookings are available for flights departing from Dubai on July 1.

Emirates/Etihad - There is no denying that the Big Three airlines of the Middle East, namely Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways, changed the way passengers defined onboard luxury. The products they offered are at the top of their class with little-to-none global competition. The three carriers built their networks around international travel, making their respective Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Doha airports into international mega-hubs facilitating travel between the West and East. But now, with international travel in murky waters due to the coronavirus pandemic, the business model of all three airlines is under threat. While Qatar Airways is also embroiled in a conflict with its neighbors, including the United Arab Emirates, ruling out any mergers with airlines near, the story of Emirates and Etihad is very different. The two sides were at the forefront of rumors that would pop up from time to time. In 2017, for example, the President of Emirates Tim Clark stated that there was “value to be had working more closely with them [Etihad –ed. note].”Whether the two would pursue a merger, Clark answered that he did not “think that will be the case, but it is not my call, really,” as it was up to the shareholders of the two airlines to move that train. The Dubai and Abu Dhabi governments currently own the two airlines. In 2018, the rumor mill picked up again: this time, however, the rumors were squashed by both sides. As the situation at Etihad Airways deteriorated and the airline slipped into further losses, failing to post a profit since 2016, running losses into the billions. In 2019, the fairly newly appointed chief executive officer of Etihad, Tony Douglas, called new rumors about a possible merger “clownesque” and “lazy.” Could the current situation change the situation? Fleet and operations The two airlines operate two very similar fleets. The backbone and pride of Emirates are two aircraft types: the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 777. Etihad also has the two cockpit types in its fleet but also operates the A320, A330 and the Boeing 787 families. Furthermore, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier anticipates the delivery of new Airbus A350 and Boeing 777X jets and plans to phase out the Airbus A330. Emirates’ order book looks eerily familiar, as the Dubai-based airline has signed up for the A350 XWB and the 777X. Besides, the company has the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on its books, further aligning the similarity of the two fleets.

LATAM - South American operator LATAM Airlines Group, along with some of its affiliates, is filing for US Chapter 11 creditor protection to undertake a restructuring process. The company says the voluntary filing has the support of crucial shareholders Cueto Group and Qatar Airways, which will provide up to $900m in debtor-in-possession financing. While affiliates in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and the US are included in the filing, those in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay are not. LATAM stated that it is aiming to “transform its business” to maintain a “leading position” in Latin American air transport during recovery from the coronavirus crisis. It stressed that there would be “no impact” on passenger and cargo operations. “This re-organization process provides LATAM with an opportunity to work with the group’s creditors and other stakeholders to reduce its debt, access new sources of financing, and continue operating,” it added. LATAM and the affiliates will be able to “re-size” their operations, to match new levels of demand, and re-organize balance sheets to become “more agile, resilient, and sustainable.” “This path represents the best option to lay the right foundation for the future of our airline group,” said chief executive Roberto Alvo, pointing out that LATAM was “healthy and profitable” before the crisis caused a collapse in the air transport sector.

Lufthansa - Has secured approval from the federal German government’s economic stabilization fund, WSF, for a €9bn financial package. Under the agreement, the WSF will contribute up to €5.7bn to Lufthansa’s assets, including €4.7bn in equity. The measure will be supplemented by a syndicated three-year credit facility of up to €3bn, provided by private banks and KfW – yet to be approved. It says the “silent participation” is unlimited in time and can be terminated by the company – either in whole or in part – every quarter. The remuneration will amount to 4% for 2020 and 2021, increasing gradually to 9.5% by 2027.WSF will acquire shares to build up a 20% shareholding in Lufthansa Group for €2.56 per share – equating to an overall cash investment of some €300m. It will be able to increase the shareholding further, to just over 25%, if there is a takeover of the company.

Philippine Airlines - Will resume operating scheduled flights in June on select international and domestic routes. Limited International Services on routes to the USA, Canada, Guam, Vietnam, Mainland China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Japan, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and sweeper flights to Australia, Singapore, and the UK. Domestic Flights, initially at reduced levels, on selected routes to and from hub airport in Manila (MNL) and occasionally from other hub airports.

Singapore Airlines - Plans to resume all international flights June/July.

Turkish Airlines - To resume international flights to six European countries on June 18.

Virgin Atlantic - Increases cargo-only PAX flights by 33% This month, following the success of its cargo-only passenger aircraft flight program in May, Virgin Atlantic Cargo has announced that it is increasing the frequency of its PAX flights by 33%. Virgin Atlantic said the extra cargo-only passenger flights — bringing the total to 587 in June — would “support demand for export and import cargoes as the UK and international businesses continue their recovery from the Covid-19 outbreak”.

Qantas & Air New Zealand - To increase domestic flights

Ground Transportation Operations

United States 

  • Truck capacity has shrunk, as spot markets have pushed some TL carriers out of the market, David Jackson CEO of Knight-Swift said. This could lead to a tighter market and higher rates, he said. And as the year goes on, the trucking sector could see "acute tightness," as more businesses reopen and demand a higher volume of carrier services.
  • The total number of people employed in the for-hire trucking sector of the economy fell by 1,200 in May, according to preliminary figures released Friday by the Department of Labor in its monthly employment report. May’s decline follows the huge dip in trucking industry employment — 89,800 jobs — in April. The DOL downwardly revised trucking job losses in April from the originally reported 88,000.
  • Last week saw the combination of a shorter work week and the end of the month, made truck capacity harder to find, which meant freight brokers and shippers had to pay more for truckload shipments. The increases in spot rates across all equipment types add momentum as we head into June, typically a peak month on the spot market. Activity picked up in the Southeast and Midwest, and produce regions fueling demand across the South.
  • Preliminary Class 8 truck orders totaled just 6,700 in May as heavy-duty truck manufacturers kept production suspensions in place while helping reduce an overhang of trucks in dealer inventories, according to ACT Research. FTR Transportation Intelligence reported 6,600 new orders in May, 61% higher than April but down 37% year over year.
  • The second quarter of 2020 will be the bottom in terms of the freight market, with spot rates somewhere between -5 and -7.5%.
  • The market found the floor about four weeks ago; there has been a 16% rise in rates over those last four weeks. TL spot rates have improved sequentially for four straight weeks. 
  • April Class 8 truck orders of 4K fell to their lowest level in 26 years, while truck builds were at their lowest level in several years.
  • Total trucking employment declined 6.2% y/y in April, the most significant y/y decline since ‘09. Sequentially trucking companies reduced headcount 88.3K m/m in April relative to -3.4K and +0.4K the two prior months.
  • The Market Demand Index (MDI) has improved sequentially for five straight weeks and more than doubled off the bottom in mid-April as volumes have materially enhanced, and the number of trucks available has declined.
  • Cass shipments have declined y/y for 17 consecutive months, and rail volumes (carloads and intermodal) have declined y/y for 16 straight months.
  • IANA domestic container volumes declined 15% y/y in April, down from -1% and +6% the two previous months. Weak import volumes combined with lower TL pricing will likely weigh on domestic intermodal volumes in the near term.

Updates by Country/Territory

Argentina: The government extended the national quarantine, until June 7. The government of Buenos Aires also announced tighter movement restrictions, including traffic controls between the capital center and province, after on May 23 case count rose a record of 704 in one day. On April 27, the government imposed a total ban on international and domestic commercial flights until September 1 and said it would focus on bringing back Argentina nationals who are abroad. This came two days after the country prolonged the decree of closed borders, including airports, ports, and land borders, and barred entry to all foreign nationals as part of its extension of the national quarantine.

Austria: Austrian government lifts COVID-19 related restrictions for all neighboring countries except Italy.

Belgium: Government will reopen businesses on 08 June and borders on 15 June.

Brazil: São Paulo state and city authorities announced a five-level plan to reopen commercial activity beginning June 1. The United States restricted travel to non-U.S. citizens from Brazil into the United States starting May 26 as the South American country’s daily death toll surpassed that of the United States on May 25.

Canada: Air Canada to resume flights to the United States after suspension.

China: Aviation authorities to expand restrictions on international flights until June 30.

Germany: Government to lift travel warning to 26 EU countries on June 15. Munich Airport set to resume transatlantic flights.

Italy: Will open to tourists on June 15.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia is welcoming the return of aircraft and passengers amid strict precautionary measures to counter the spread of coronavirus. The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) on Sunday opened 11 of the Kingdom’s 28 airports in a step toward restoring normality to everyday activities. 

China: Aviation authorities to expand restrictions on international flights until June 30.

Germany: Government to lift travel warning to 26 EU countries on June 15.

Italy: Will open to tourists on June 15.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia is welcoming the return of aircraft and passengers amid strict precautionary measures to counter the spread of coronavirus. The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) on Sunday opened 11 of the Kingdom’s 28 airports in a step toward restoring normality to everyday activities.

South Africa: Some domestic flights to recommence June 1.

Spain: Welcome tourists from July 1. The government extends state of emergency until 21 June.

UK: EasyJet to cut up to 4,500 jobs and to shrink its fleet following the collapse in air travel. The move represents 30% of the airline workforce.

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