Supply chain, logistics and freight

Sea freight

Ports are deemed essential services by the US Government and are continuing cargo operations. Although they are exempt from stay-at-home orders, some ports have been reducing on-site staffing and closing administration or non-essential buildings. There are estimates that cargo volumes at many US ports during the first quarter of 2020 may be down by 20% or more compared to 2019.

Ocean-going vessels are still coming in, and container ports are open. A large drop in cargo from China has caused some port capacity closure due to a drop in demand. However, long-term contracts for shipping are being honoured and prices seem to be stable. A surge in demand in the coming weeks is expected as a backlog of Chinese shipments begins to come back online.

Many ports are comprised of private transportation companies, so there may be some individual changes in operations for some companies. For example, while the Seattle Port remains open, some of its cargo terminals closed because of a reduction in import activity.

Air cargo

Although air cargo shipments are still coming in, overall air cargo capacity has tightened, and rates have increased dramatically due to the loss of 'belly' cargo normally carried on passenger flights.


Trucking or road-going freight capacity has dropped sharply, due to domestic demand for consumer goods and increases in online ordering.

Useful links

Exporters should maintain close contact with their preferred freight forwarders and shipping lines, who will be providing regular updates. For updates on the overall impacts to shipping and logistics, please see the sites below:

Top US ports of entry for New Zealand goods


Baltimore, MD (Port)

Boston, MA (Port)

Charleston, SC (Port)

Chicago, IL (Port)


Honolulu, HI (Port)

Houston, TX (Port)


Long Beach, CA (Port)

Los Angeles, CA (Port)

Miami, FL (Port)

Newark, NJ (Port)

New Orleans, LA (Port)

New York, NY (Port)

Norfolk-Newport News, VA (Port)

Oakland, CA (Port)


Philadelphia, PA (Port)

Port Everglades, FL (Port)

Providence, RI (Port)

San Francisco, CA (Port)

Savannah, GA (Port)

Seattle, WA (Port)

Contact NZTE

We're available to talk to you about any issues your export business is facing due to COVID-19.

For existing NZTE customers, please contact your New Zealand-based Customer Manager.

If you're unsure who to contact or haven't worked with us before, you can call NZTE on 0800 555 888 or email below and one of our Customer Advisors will help you.