ACP-EU logistics – air, sea and road freight news

AIR FREIGHT: PASSENGER FLIGHTS DOWN, CHARTERS UP

The biggest change this week regards passenger flights that are suspended from/to Kenya, which will worsen the lack of cargo from Nairobi. Cargo flights are mainly used to transport flowers, with vegetables “piggybacked”. Now that flower exports have collapsed, it is expected that freight capacity will also decrease. In practice, Air France KLM Martinair Cargo will have only three full cargo flights per week to Nairobi. Emirates and Qatar are alternatives; however, price increases of 15% with Emirates and up to 300% with Qatar have been seen.

Cargo carriers are increasing the number of charters, especially between China and Europe, to transport medical equipment, ventilators, masks and medicines to fight the pandemic. Bloomberg has released figures around costs of charter flights from China: around US$800.000 for a flight to Europe, $1.5 million for a flight to New York, and around $1.2 million for a flight to Ethiopia or South Africa.

The cargo business is so high that some passenger airlines, like Finnair and Air Canada, are adapting or modifying their passenger aircrafts in order to bring more cargo, even removing the seats from the cabin. Similar actions were announced by the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines: “We are now focusing on cargo. The cargo business is relatively doing well because urgently required medical supplies are needed all over the world from east to west, west to east, north, south and so on. We are also trying to convert some of our passenger aircraft to cargo.” He also mentioned that the rates of cargo are up to six times higher than 4 months ago.

Dubai International Airport has facilitated an increase in the number of cargo flights to increase the volume of perishable food and pharmaceuticals entering the country (Gulf News, 9 April). In March the volume of fruit and vegetables handled at DXB increased by 88.5% (18,164 tonnes) year-on-year. Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said: “We moved quickly to facilitate the replacement of cargo capacity that is normally provided in the holds of passenger aircraft by accommodating a number of dedicated cargo flights to maintain the supply of food, supplies and equipment entering the UAE during the current unprecedented global crisis.” Airlines quickly mobilized cargo flights between DXB and other cities around the world. In order to increase the volume of cargo available, 12 carriers currently operate an average of 110 daily cargo flights to DXB.

Flight operations by country

(Source: based on Bolloré Logistics report, 15 April)

Benin Air freight: All flights have been suspended since 20 March, and all airlines stopped their services except for Air France (which operates one passenger flight and one cargo freighter per week) and Ethiopian Airlines (which operates one passenger flight per week).

Botswana Air freight: No inbound or outbound cargo and no bookings accepted by the airlines.

Burkina Faso Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended, putting more constraint on capacity. Cargo flights are still operating.

Burundi Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended. Cargo flights are still operating for some origins/destinations (only Ethiopian Airlines).

Cameroon Air freight: All international passenger flights have been suspended, putting more constraint on capacity. A contingency plan has been set up through the Cargo Magma option available on day 4 via Paris (CDG) hub. DHL changed the aircraft and put a small plane on Brussels - 8T of capacity per plane (instead of 13T), and 5 days out of 7 (instead of 6/7).

Central African Republic Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended, putting more constraint on capacity. Cargo flights are still operated by DHL.

Chad Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended until 25 April, putting more constraint on capacity. Cargo flights are still operated by DHL.

Congo Air freight: From 20 March, all passenger flights from exposed countries have been suspended, putting more constraint on capacity. Cargo flights are still operated by Allied, Magma and DHL. A contingency plan has been set up through the BSA cargo option on Allied available on day 1 via CDG hub.

Côte d’Ivoire Air freight: all passenger flights have been suspended since 22 March. Cargo is still going on, but no plane except DHL.

Djibouti Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended. Cargo flights are still operational.

Democratic Republic of the Congo – East Air freight: All flights have been suspended effective 20 March. Cargo flights are still operational.

Democratic Republic of the Congo – West Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended, putting more constraint on capacity. Cargo flights are still operated by DHL, Turkish Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines.

Democratic Republic of the Congo – South Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended. Cargo flights are still operating.

Equatorial Guinea Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended, putting more constraint on capacity. Cargo flights are still operated by DHL Cargo (two flights/week) and

Ethiopian Airlines (one flight/week). Airport customs are operating with minimum services. Ethiopia Air freight: Ethiopian Airlines has suspended passengers’ flights for 80 destinations. Ethiopian Airlines cargo flights still operating, but cargo capacity reduced due to flight cancellations. No cargo flights on Lufthansa or Emirates.

Gabon Air freight: All passenger national and international flights have been suspended except for flights organized occasionally by the French Embassy, putting more constraint on capacity. Cargo flights are still operated by DHL Cargo and Express via Accra, Allied, Stabo and Ethiopian Airlines. Cargo option Libreville LBV via DHL Day 7, via CDG (Paris) Hub, Port-Gentil (POG) with European Air Transport (QY)  block space agreement (BSA) Day 2. Any shipment to Libreville must be subject to mandatory agreement from Bolloré Transport & Logistics minimum 3 days prior loading. Airport staff is operating with minimum services and focusing on essential activities. Specific authorizations and passes are required for Libreville importers.

Gambia Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended, only cargo flights are still operating.
Ghana Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended since 22 March for 4 weeks. Cargo flights are still operated (DHL, Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways) but delays are to be expected, the restriction also does not apply to emergency flights, technical landings for refuel only, medical evacuation flights. The exempted flights are to seek pre-authorization from the Ghanaian entities.

Guinea Conakry Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended. Cargo flights are still operated.

Kenya Air freight: Only cargo flights will be allowed after 25 March but crew must abide by strict controls in place.

Liberia Air freight: Except for cargo (DHL cargo flight comes in 5 days weekly), chartered and special flights, all commercial flights are suspended as of 23 March. All flights traveling to Liberia are suspended. The US Government sent two flights to evacuate the non-essential part of its staff.

Madagascar Air freight: For air travel, as announced last week, all PAX (passenger) flights are suspended and only Air France and Turkish Airlines serve Madagascar via their weekly cargo flight. Turkish Airlines is operating on Sundays and Airfrance on Thurdays.

Malawi Air freight: South African Airlines – all flights cancelled into Lilongwe until 31 March. Emirates – Cargo freighter into Lilongwe cancelled until further notice.

Mali Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended. Cargo flights are still operated.

Mauritania Air freight: Closed.

Mozambique Air freight: Embargo on all passenger flights. Cargo flights are operational, but airlines are closing their offices and limiting flights – flights are only once a week or less, cargo is subject to stay on standby at airport.

Namibia Air freight: Limited flights. Airports are closed with no passengers/cargo. We are awaiting confirmation from the Ministry regarding further restrictions. Some shipping lines have sent out notice to confirm amended office hours during this period. We are also waiting on details regarding the transport of cargo and commercial goods.

Niger Air freight: All passenger flights have been suspended. Cargo flights are still operated.

Nigeria Air freight: All airports closed to passenger international flights; cargo flights still operating. Clearing activities only for essential cargo at the airport to all clearing agents. NAHCO and SAHCO have skeletal staff on ground receiving cargo from freighters to central warehouse and releasing only essential cargo. Customs and authorities on site at a skeletal level to attend to demand on essential cargo release. Note: only cargo where the consignee can provide an exemption letter from Federal Government proving essential cargo status will be handled.

Rwanda Air freight: Embargo on all passenger flights. Minimal operations in place during lockdown.

Senegal Air freight: Suspension of all flights to/from Senegal with the exception of domestic and cargo flights, sanitary evacuations and special flights, from 20 March. Turkish and Air France cargo flights restart twice a week (Turkish Wednesday and weekend; Air France Tuesday and Sunday).

Sierra Leone Air freight: 19 March, suspension of all PAX flights. 24 March, business continuity plan in place for logistics in case of external aid oncoming.

Somalia Air freight: Federal Government of Somalia has implemented flight restrictions. International flights suspended for 15 days. AMISOM cargo base closed to all drop offs except by special application.

South Africa Air freight: No PAX flights. Few freighters (have always been) operating (Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines), Martinair to resume flights from 5 April. South African Airways freighter resumed to Germany. Operations delayed. Trucking to Windhoek/Gaborone where no flights operating. Charter flights possible for essential goods.

Sudan – North Air freight: Freight operations allowed for cargo planes and humanitarian assistance.

Sudan – South Air freight: International flights banned effective 23 March with exemption for food cargo flights, humanitarian aid operations including medical and relief flights, and technical lading.

Tanzania Air freight: Operational – Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority has announced suspending all scheduled and unscheduled passenger flights; and permitting cargo flights but crew will be quarantined at designated place by the Government for the duration of their stay.

  • Swiss International Air Lines has cancelled all flights from 19 March to 14 April.
  • Emirates will suspend all flights worldwide for 2 weeks from 25 March as UAE halts all air travel
  • KLM has cancelled all flights for the whole of week 13. New schedule to be issued soon.
  • Kenya Airways will suspend all flights from Dar from 25 March to 30 April. They will only operate with cargo flights/freighters subject to volume of cargo.
  • Qatar airways will also suspend flights from Dar from 25 March until further notice.
  • Bolloré Tanzania is arranging charter/part charter freighters from Europe, China and India to deliver essential supplies to the region.

Togo Air freight: Suspension of all flights except Ethiopian Airlines (import and export) and DHL. One Air France cargo flight planned on 6 April.

Uganda Air freight: Only cargo flights operational but limited volumes due to reduced capacity.

Zambia Air freight: Only Ethiopian Airlines operating on PAX and cargo, Stabo air on cargo. Minimal service at airport.

Zimbabwe Air freight: Cargo flights only. Airport operating with minimum staff. Harare office closed, Operations Manager & Sales attending emails from home. Air freight available on call.

Information for individual airlines and services

For full schedules for Air France KLM Martinair Cargo; Lufthansa, Quatar Airways; Emirates; and DHL, download the file here

Air France KLM Martinair Cargo
Air France KLM Martinair Cargo has a new schedule of flights which shows a new reduction in frequencies compared with last week. 

Quatar Airways
Quatar Airways is offering freight service via Qatar from the following cities in Africa: Entebbe (Uganda), Nairobi (Kenya) and Djibouti (Djibouti) with a wide range of cities in Europe, including Brussels, Liege, Luxembourg, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, Prague and London. Although prices have increased in some cases up to 300%.

Emirates
Emirates has also considerably reduced its offer of cargo from Nairobi (Kenya), Entebbe (Uganda) and Khartoum (Sudan). Flights are via Dubai with connections with major airports in Europe including Brussels, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris, London, Madrid, Zurich, Milan, Vienna and Maastricht. A 15% increase in freight rates has been seen.µ

DHL
Regarding Cameroon, DHL maintains an air freight offer, but changed the aircraft and put a small plane on Brussels – 8T of capacity per plane (instead of 13T), and 5 days out of 7 (instead of 6/7).
Temporary suspension of DHL services remains to the following destinations: Cuba, India, Guinea Bissau, Mauritius, Mayotte, São Tomé and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, St Eustatius and Timor Leste. The remaining destinations are still served, but with extended delivery times that can be up to 7 additional business days for Sudan, Zambia or Zimbawe. Also from 1 April there will be an emergency situation surcharge (fixed charge per shipment) as follows:

Chargeable weight (kg) Charge
Up to 2.5   No charge
2.51–30 €2.50
30.1–70 €15
70.1–300 €50
>300.1 €200


Ethiopian Cargo
Ethiopian Cargo is currently making changes in its passenger airplanes in order to transform some of them to cargo and increase its service capacity. However, cargo prices have risen considerably. 

Lufthansa
Lufthansa has updated its service from Africa and will start servicing Senegal from 18 April, and other destinations from May 1st. 

FedEx
FedEx and TNT have temporarily suspended all services to and from all African countries. Detailed information is available here.

SEA FREIGHT: OPERATING AS NORMALLY AS POSSIBLE

There are no reported changes in the situation of the European ports. They remain fully operational; this is the case for Antwerp, Rotterdam, Le Havre and Hamburg.

The logistics company Maersk has published the following developments:

Rate announcements
SPOT Shipment Destination Charges Clarification

Surcharges
Pick Up (PIC) and Drop Off (DRP) Tariff as from 08th April 2020

ROAD NETWORKS

Transport of goods inside Europe is not directly affected. As noted previously, border controls are effective in many countries and long queues are reported, especially between central European countries. Waiting time can be up to 2–3 hours to cross a border. This can be a big problem when transporting perishables that have to cross more than two countries. For the moment delays are reported in Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

Sixfold provides an excellent tool to check live information on queues at EU borders.

OTHER RESOURCES
  • BOLLORÉ LOGISTICS is providing a detailed country-by-country update of movement restrictions for air, sea, road and rail freight updated 15 April. They are also proposing charter flights but almost everything covers only China and Europe. For the moment there are no programmed charter flights from Africa.
  • LOGISTICS CLUSTER publishes detailed information by country, and includes most countries of the world, updated 15 April.