COVID-19 Europe Shipping Update

Scarbrough’s exclusive UK partner updated us on March 17, 2020 with the following information about any developments in the European transport situation including updates on the current statuses of all countries and borders. At the end of the blog post, our partner has provided a consolidated matrix with an overview of the situation in every country with a categorization regarding the risk assessment.

Important for transportation to:
Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Czech Republic:

  • Do not ship any consignment to those countries for Bars, Restaurants and shopping malls.
  • In some countries, inventory in certain crossdocks are about to build up. It is important to clarify with your customers if the shipments will and can be accepted by the consignees. We highly recommend you to align with the receiving branch or your partner.


In Italy the situation regarding the lockdown remains critical. The import trucks are arriving with delays and the local trucks are operating. We are however experiencing first delays within our business and further delays are to be expected in the distribution due to the lack of capacities.


Today it has been decided that more areas in Spain will be shutdown completely by the government, meaning that neither collections nor deliveries will be possible in these areas. The areas affected by this development are the following:

COVID-19 espana Shipping Update

Regions include Arroyo de la Luz, Regions: Cartagena, San Pedro, San Javier, Los Alcázares, La Unión, Mazarrón and Águilas. The lockdowns are still in effect for the following postal codes, as well:

COVID-19 Spain Shipping Update


The driving bans for trucks on the weekend in all of Austria have been cancelled and therefore trucks are allowed to drive over the weekend. Additionally, the Austrian government has also announced that shops, bars etc. are to be closed from now on and only essential stores are to be kept open, such as supermarkets, pharmacies. They have also set up a quarantine in three areas in Austria in the Prenznauntal, St. Anton am Arlberg and Kärnten areas. Border checks between Austria and Italy have been so far cleared out and the situation at the Brenner has relaxed. There might occur traffic jams of a few kilometers.


The Croatian government has decided that all foreign drivers coming from Italy, China, South Korea,
Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Bahrein, Iran, Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain, Austria,
UK, the Netherlands, Sweden and the Bela Krajina region (Slovenia), have to be put in a compulsory
14-day quarantine.

This does not apply for drivers in transit. Foreign drivers are warned at the border, so that they can avoid the quarantine. Our partners from Croatia are reporting that the situation is still fully unclear.
They even expect some further actions from the Government, which could lead to a complete shutdown of the borders. The current waiting time at the HR border is still reported to be around 24 hours.

Czech Republic

The Czech government has locked down some cities in the eastern part of the country. These cities are under total lockdown and neither collections nor deliveries can take place. The following cities are affected by the lockdown:

COVID-19 CZ Shipping Update

All other transports to and from the Czech Republic are still possible with some delays to be
expected at the borders, as the smaller border crossing points are closed and health checks are

COVID-19 CZ Shipping Update

All drivers wanting to enter the country are checked for their health and can enter without problems if they do not show signs of infection. For other cases:
• If the CZ Driver has COVID-19 symptoms, he will be taken to the hospital and quarantined
• If the foreign driver has COVID-19 symptoms, he will not be admitted to the CZ


The Slovakian government has closed down also the border to their neighboring countries. They
announced that national and international freight transport including transit would still be possible.

Additionally, the drivers will have to be equipped with protective equipment. Random health checks are being conducted at the border.


Serbia imposed travel restrictions, which do not apply for international road freight transport. However, transit operations through the country are not allowed to last longer than 12 hours after the first border crossing. Additionally, the government has closed 44 borders temporarily.


As already communicated, the Slovenian government is blocking trucks over 3,5t to enter the country, with the following exemptions:
• Trucks with their final destination in Slovenia
• Trucks with postage, medicine equipment, pharmaceutical products or humanitarian help

Transit from Italy through Slovenia is completely forbidden for all trucks. Transit is still possible from other border crossings (Austria, Hungary etc.)


The government of Poland declared the state of emergency and has closed the borders for all foreigners. Polish citizens will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine when returning to Poland. The quarantine will not apply if a polish driver entering Poland in his capacity as a truck driver on a truck and will not be required to go into a 14 days quarantine if they do not show any illness symptoms. Polish drivers going home by car need to provide documents of a foreign employment, e.g. in Germany or other EU countries. These measures lead to traffic jams at the German-Polish border. For entering Poland from Germany delays of about 4-5 hours can be expected.


The German government has announced to close down the border to Austria, Switzerland,
Denmark, Luxembourg and France, effective March 16, 2020. It was highlighted that this closure will not apply to freight transports. Additionally, the Sunday driving bans for trucks have been lifted in order to support the further flow of cargo.


As per decision by the Danish government the borders have been closed to their neighboring countries since 14th March 12:00 until 13th April 2020. This shut down does NOT affect the flow of cargo into DK and through DK. The police will, as far as possible, take into account the access of trucks and, where possible, separate lanes for freight traffic will be made. This also for the security of supply of food, medicine and materials for the industry. Even though delays at the border should be expected.


To reduce the risk of infection the ferry company Seatruck Ferries temporarily stops shipping any
HGV drivers or any other passenger in their Irish Sea vessels. Accompanied road transport (complete
truck combinations with driver) is then stopped until further notice, but the company will continue
to carry unaccompanied semi-trailers, containers and swap bodies. Additionally, our Irish colleagues have informed us that, due to the recent developments, their customers are not willing to receive paper anymore. Therefore, from now on paperwork will not be handled anymore in Ireland and other solutions for a mandatory proof of delivery will be used. This does not affect other services or the flow of goods at all.


Norway will close its border on March 16, 2020. It was announced that Norway would guarantee the flow of freight so freight transports will still be allowed. Our partners are reporting that their networks are working still on full capacity; however, some delays can be expected. As already announced, based on the decision of the Directorate of Health, Color Line has decided that all sailings on the Oslo – Kiel route for M / S Color Fantasy and M / S Color Magic will be canceled
from Saturday 14 March to Thursday 26 March. The Ro-ro cargo ship M / S Color Carrier will however operate the Oslo-Kiel route with goods in the usual manner and as per regular schedule. This will lead to delays towards and from Norway.


Romania has declared the state of emergency. With that, the country has closed some of their
border crossings:

COVID-19 Romania Shipping Update


The Turkish government has announced to start with health checks at the borders for transports entering the country.


In the Ukraine, the borders will remain open for transports, only health checks will be conducted at the border and the drivers are obliged to wear masks and gloves and have to carry antiseptic hand sanitizers.


Belgium has also shut down public spaces, except supermarkets and pharmacies. However, transports are not affected in any way.


Bulgaria has announced a state of emergency as well, without restrictions on transports.


The French government has announced the closure of bars, cinemas, shops and other public places except pharmacies and supermarkets. There are currently no restrictions on transports.

COVID-19 Europe Shipping Update

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I at risk for COVID-19 from a package or products shipping from China?

According to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website, “there is still a lot that is unknown about the newly emerged COVID-19 and how it spreads. Two other coronaviruses have emerged previously to cause severe illness in people (MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV). The virus that causes COVID-19 is more genetically related to SARS-CoV than MERS-CoV, but both are betacoronaviruses with their origins in bats. While we don’t know for sure that this virus will behave the same way as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, we can use the information gained from both of these earlier coronaviruses to guide us. In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods. Information will be provided on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website as it becomes available.”

What to Do

Please try to understand that in this situation, future surcharges, transit times and delays cannot be controlled.  As stated before, some of Scarbrough’s local partners have mentioned this epidemic is one of the worst they have seen in their lives.  Scarbrough will continue to monitor the situation, while keeping our partners and friends located around the world in our thoughts.  Scarbrough will send updates on your cargo if it is significantly affected.  If you have any specific questions, please contact your direct customer service representative.

Most Importantly, Take Care of Yourself for the Good of Others

To view the most up-to-date information on cases in the United States, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the meantime, follow these precautions in order to avoid catching the virus or more importantly passing along what could be a fatal virus to someone else:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
    Hint: At Scarbrough, we sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song while washing our hands.

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About Scarbrough

Scarbrough Global of Companies, headquartered in Kansas City with local presence in every major port in the world, is a complete international and domestic supply chain service provider, offering U.S., Mexican, and Canadian Customs brokerage, Import & Export Transportation Solutions, Domestic brokerage and asset-based trucking, Warehouse fulfillment and distribution services, Trade Compliance Consulting, Large Equipment and Project Cargo moves, as well as Parcel Audit Savings.  Scarbrough is widely known for its trade experts, training, personalized customer service, customized solutions, and data analytics tools.  Since 1984, Scarbrough has continued to satisfy its clients by following its motto on a daily basis: “It is our job to make your job easier.”  Moreover, our team of experts is available at your disposal.  We offer free consultations on any topic from supply chain optimization and duty savings opportunities to the basics, helping to guide new importers and exporters as they jump into the world of global trade.  Contact us now.