Impact of Covid-19 on North American freight operations


Across our network, Hillebrand is committed to ensuring the health and safety of staff and easing the logistics challenges our customers are facing from COVID-19. 

For business operations in the USA and Canada, we have provided the following updates on imports, exports and domestic operations (subject to change at any time).  

In accordance with our Terms of use, the Contents are provided for general information purposes only. Hillebrand does not represent or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the Contents.  Any reliance you place on the Contents is strictly at your own risk.  Hillebrand disclaims all liability arising from any reliance placed on the Contents by you or anyone who may be informed of their content.

(Last updated: June 1st 2020, 10:00 AM EDT) 

Port / container railyard operations:  

  • Baltimore, Maryland:  Main gate hours will be 6AM-445 PM, Vail street gate hours remain 7AM-4PM
  • Charleston, SC: WWT Saturday reefer service in May from 600-1200
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia: operational, with possible reduction in shifts
  • Houston, Texas: operational
  • Los Angeles / Long Beach - California:  Pier A closed evening shift on 5/29, closed first shift 6/1, closed second shift 6/2, closed both shifts 6/3 and closed second shift 6/5.  WBCT closed one shift per day 6/1-6/5. APMT closing 6/3 and 6/10 second shift.  Only empty receiving on 6/3 and 6/10 first shift.
  • Miami / Port Everglades: POMTOC closed 6/1. PET closed 5/29 and 6/5.  FIT hours 8AM-4PM daily due to reduced volumes.
  • Montreal, Quebec: operational, with possible reduction in shifts
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: operational
  • New York / New Jersey: operational with normal congestion levels.  In May Maersk and Hamburg Sud will move services from GCT (NY) to APM (NJ). 
  • Norfolk, Virginia: All ocean services to be handled at NIT and VIG terminals following the closure of PMT terminal services, and gate hours will be adjusted to 7AM Monday - Friday.
  • Oakland, California: operational, reefer units severely restricted for exports.
  • Savannah, Georgia: Starting 5/11 truck gates will be M-F 7AM-6PM.
  • Seattle, Washington: operational, with possible reduction in shifts. T18-SSA closed on 6/5 due to reduced volumes.
  • Vancouver, British Columbia: operational
  • Rail services networks: operational, with some reduced shifts and Saturday closures at container yards


Trade lane capacity to / from North America by trade lane: 

  1. Transatlantic Eastbound / Westbound - Ocean carriers are reducing capacity with cancelled sailings due to the low demand to/from North Europe and the Mediterranean.  Reefer units will be in short supply and insulation alternatives are recommended where appropriate.  
  2. Transpacific East / Westbound - Cancelled sailings continue on this trade corridor as ocean carriers adjust capacity to demand.  Container supply will vary by equipment type and size in the next two months with reefer units in highest demand. 
  3. Central America and South America Northbound - Ocean carrier service cancellations affect trans-shipment ports fluidity in Mexico and Central America.  Scheduled transit times to North America from freight sailing from Chilean ports will continue to be affected for June and July.  Shift changes at fitting depots in Chile can impact schedules as well.
  4. Oceania to North America - Tightened capacity overall but especially in New Zealand where reefer equipment and vessel space is in high demand from peak produce season.  Plan for longer than usual transit times for new bookings and consider insulation alternatives for reefer units.
  5. South Africa - the export of wine and alcohol can resume as of 5/1/2020.  Import of alcohol to storage warehouses permitted as of 5/22/2020.  Sales and distribution of alcohol in the country is still restricted.
  6. Caribbean - service options will vary by destination; commercial air travel bans will impact small consignments that normally are routed via passenger flights.  Check with your local Hillebrand contacts for more information
  7. Mexico - Beer production is suspended per the Department of Health mandate.  It is expected that re-opening could take place in June but this has not been confirmed.  Tequila and mezcal continues to ship despite reduction in production capacity. Check with your Hillebrand contact for more information. 

Additional country by country status in Hillebrand's daily operations update here 


Domestic and overland operations

Hillebrand's North American warehouse network is fully operational with staff working with expanded safety precautions.  Supply chain partners (trucking companies for drayage and last mile services) are essential and continue to operate. 


How to plan for upcoming shipments and recovery 

The three major driving conditions affecting international shipments are: the reduction in capacity (cancelled sailings) on all major trade corridors, the movement and supply of container units, especially reefers, and the shorter windows at port terminals, yards and warehouse to deliver loaded containers and pick up empties. 

As recovery efforts across the globe get underway for June and July and volume increases (at the same time as summer peak season demand on reefer equipment), plan ahead and extend lead time expectations to accommodate your delivery timelines.    

We continue to innovate and provide tailored alternative solutions to ease your logistics challenges.  A few areas you can consider are: 

  • Container equipment alternatives: in areas where reefer units are in high demand, switch to dry containers fitted with insulation to avoid delays.   Expedite smaller consignments and temperature sensitive orders through groupage (consolidation) or air freight.  View sailing schedules here
  • Warehouse readiness: work with your provider facilities to confirm readiness and appointments to avoid additional detention / demurrage costs.  Where necessary engage in pre-pulls to offset potential demurrage costs if you warehouse cannot accommodate you.
  • CBMA eligibility on US imports: work with your overseas suppliers to take advantage of the the USA CBMA (Craft Beverage Modernization Act) tax savings in 2020.  Read more about it here.
  • Product disposal needs: if you have expired or unsaleable product read more about responsible product disposal management with the Ecobev process here
  • Distribution to multiple channels: cross-dock pallets directly to retail fulfillment centers
  • Last mile delivery (region-specific): expanded services include direct-to-consumer deliveries.


How can we help your business grow?