March 5, 2020
Meredith Blechman

COVID-19: Current and Anticipated Impacts on our Business

Now present on every continent except Antarctica, the number of cases of Covid-19 continues to grow. We’ve already seen the adverse impact on businesses and economies across the globe, and expect this to continue.

Arta's team in NYC and London are all working remotely, but fully available to assist our clients during these uncertain times. We are continuing to source information and monitor changes and delays in our supply chain network. We’ve outlined below how the coronavirus is affecting our clients and partners today, and will continue to post updates here as we learn them.

Update: April 20, 2020

Regarding Air Freight in Paris

  • We are no longer able to offer packing and airfreight services directly out of Paris due to tightened restrictions around transportation in the city. However, our UK-based shippers can collect in Paris and ship via airfreight out of London.

Update: April 1, 2020

Regarding US and EU Road Freight Instant Quote

  • As a result of the increasing number of shelter in place orders throughout the US and the lockdown in the UK, we can no longer guarantee shuttle availability dates provided or booked through US and EU Road Freight Instant Quote.
  • As many of our partners are changing shuttle schedules daily or suspending groupage services during this unprecedented time, we will be in touch within 48 hours to provide next available dates or provide alternative shipping solutions (if available) for all road freight instant quotes.

Update: March 30, 2020

  • Due to the shelter in place order in Miami, Florida, many of our local vendors are closing until the order is lifted.

Update: March 24, 2020

Regarding shipments to/from the UK:

  • As of last night, the UK is on lockdown. Though “Transport, Warehousing and Distribution” does not fall under “non-essential business”, most of our shippers are closing for the time being.

Update: March 23, 2020

Regarding shipments within the United States:

  • With Dallas ordered to shelter in place, local shuttles are suspended to/from the area.
  • All warehouses in NYC, LA, Chicago are temporarily closed. Most are able to open up on appointment only basis to receive in or release.
  • Our national shuttle companies based in Texas are not sending their shuttles to states with shelter in place mandates (CA, NY, IL).

Update: March 20, 2020

  • All warehouses in California are temporarily closed due to recent “shelter in place” state order. All local collections and deliveries are delayed until warehouses can re-open.
  • NYC warehouses are open on a case by case basis. For most that are officially closed, they are operating with limited set hours to accommodate receive-in or release.

Update: March 19, 2020

  • Most major auction houses have stopped all releases and incoming shipments.

Update: March 18, 2020

Regarding European Shipments:

  • In Belgium: Origin and destination services can no longer be provided due to a national ban on removal activities. Transportation by road and rail is still allowed; we can book transport via rail between Antwerp and Milan.
  • In France: restrictions on movement of residents does not affect the movement of goods.
  • In Germany: at the south border with Switzerland, Austria, and Liechtenstein, no crossing is prohibited. We are not seeing any issues at the North border.
  • In Spain: restrictions on movement of residents does not affect the movement of goods.

Art industry updates:

  • Frieze New York has been cancelled. Should any of our clients like to discuss options for taking the booths they were working on digital with automated shipping options, please reach out to

Update: March 17, 2020

Regarding shipments in/out of San Francisco, California, USA:

  • The San Francisco bay area was placed under a mandatory “shelter in place” order beginning today. As such, our shipping partners with offices in the area have closed, effective immediately.
    Takeaway: Please expect delays shipping in and out of the area. Any shipments that are currently in route and scheduled to deliver to a SF warehouse or business will likely have to be brought back to that carrier’s main warehouse. We will update individual clients with information on the status of their shipments.

Update: March 16, 2020

Regarding Arta Air Freight Instant Quote:

  • Due to flight cancellations and travel restrictions resulting from the spread of COVID-19, we are seeing extreme volatility in air freight availability and pricing. As such, we are temporarily requiring that air freight shipments are manually reviewed and quoted, and Instant Quotes will be suspended. Please allow up to 48 hours to receive air freight quotes, and note that quotes will only be valid for 24 hours.

Regarding shipments between the U.S. and Europe:

  • The U.S. has extended it’s travel ban to the UK and Ireland, but cargo is still exempt.
    Takeaway: while we can still secure space on cargo flights, it’s increasingly difficult due to limited availability. Pricing is extremely volatile.

Regarding international shuttle shipments (specifically, US / Canada):

  • As border closures continue across the world, moving freight by truck over borders will become increasingly difficult, and in some cases, impossible.
  • Most of our partners have cancelled all shuttles between the U.S. and Canada.

Update: March 13, 2020

We are continuing to see a fallout from the U.S. suspension of travel from Europe:

  • American Airlines has suspended a majority of their flights from the U.S. to Europe until May 7th. AA flights to London Heathrow (LHR), Manchester (MAN), and Dublin (DUB) are not affected by this change.
  • Lufthansa has said that while passenger flights from Europe to the U.S. have been greatly reduced, their freighters have not been impacted and will continue to operate.
  • Delta has suspended most flights between Europe and the U.S., and their flights in and out of Tel Aviv are completely suspended.

Takeaway: It is extremely difficult for us to secure airfreight for international shipments globally, and prices are extremely high for that limited available space.

Additional updates:

  • Art Cologne and the Dallas Art Fair have been postponed until the Fall. These are the latest to join a number of Spring fairs and events that have been rescheduled for Fall.
  • Museums across the world have closed.
    Takeaway: Consider purchasing a membership or making a donation to your local museums to support these non-profits that rely on daily attendance to sustain their annual programing.

Update: March 12, 2020

Regarding shipments to/from/within Europe:

  • United States President Trump suspends all travel to the U.S. from Europe for non-U.S. citizens. The UK is excluded from that travel ban. As a result, today European countries started directing freight to London to ship out to the U.S.
    Takeaway: Prices have already skyrocketed to ship between the U.S. and U.K. The average cost to ship between London and New York City is about $2 per vol kg; though we are now being quoted by our partners between $5-9 per vol kg. In addition, flights are fully booked for the next week, with limited availability in the weeks following. Delays are now certain.
  • European countries are instituting strict border control to prevent the spread of the virus between countries.
    Takeaway: It will become increasingly difficult for shuttles to transport internationally within Europe. We’ve seen this particularly come to ahead at the border of Italy and Austria.
  • KLM has cancelled all flights to the U.S. out of Germany. We are currently only able to secure rates from one airline out of Germany, and we are seeing a 50% increase in costs.

Other news:

  • Paris Photo New York, slated for April 2-5th, 2020, has been postponed. A new date has yet to be announced.  

Update: March 11, 2020

Regarding shipments to/from/within Italy:

  • Italy’s government is imposing mass closures across the country, and our shipping partners will be impacted by this. We have received updates from nearly 10 partners in Italy, and to date, a few have announced closures with the rest continuing to run shuttles with limited service. We do anticipate delays in exports out of Italy.
  • Our clients should continue to expect delays shipping to or from Italy. We are continuing to support our partners on the ground however we can.

March 5, 2020

Regarding shipments to/from Asia:

  • Many airlines, including Cargolux and United Airlines, have cancelled or reduced flights to Asia, including most of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Seoul.
    Takeaway: Air freight costs to ship into Asia are already increasing, and a backlog will most likely occur as fewer flights are available.
  • Production and manufacturing is slowly starting to pick up again within China.
    Takeaway: As production begins again, and given that many flights are cancelled or suspended, there will be even less availability for shipments out of China or Hong Kong, and prices will be more expensive.

Regarding shipments to/from/within Europe:

  • American Airlines, British Airways, and Delta Airlines have cancelled flights to Italy. DHL has suspended service to select parts of Italy.
    Takeaway: While we can still ship to Italy, our clients should expect major delays shipping to and from Italy.
  • Major European airlines, including British Airways, Air France-KLM and Lufthansa, have suspended flights to and from China and Hong Kong.
    Takeaway: With less air freight between Hong Kong/China and Europe, we expect to see increased costs and limited availability.
  • British Airways has reduced the number of flights from London to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport due to lower passenger demand.
    Takeaway: As more cases of Covid-19 are confirmed in the UK and US, we anticipate more airlines to reduce or cancel flights between the world’s largest art hubs. If you are looking to ship between the US and UK, it is best to book sooner rather than later as delays will only continue to increase.
  • European short haul flights are being cut by major airlines in order to minimise damages to profit as passenger numbers decrease.
    Takeaway: As of today, there is still plenty of availability to move goods via European road freight, so we expect little impact within the EU. However, we do expect to see more air freight routes reduced or cancelled.
  • The Swiss government has banned all events involving more than 1,000 people, cancelling the Geneva Motor Show and Basel World.
    Takeaway: With an increasing number of cases of Covid-19 reported across Europe, major upcoming European art fairs could fall under stricter government regulations aimed at containment, similar to those imposed by the Swiss Government. For our clients looking to digital alternatives to in-person art fairs, we are happy to discuss how we can support you in your post-sale process.

Regarding shipments within the U.S.:

  • While international shipments are experiencing delays and there is limited booking availability, we have not seen major disruption to shipments moving via road freight within the United States.
    Takeaway: As confirmed cases of Covid-19 continue to rise, particularly in major cities, we do anticipate future disruptions and delays.

Regarding all international shipments:

  • In order to guarantee airfreight space, most airlines are requiring us to book “must fly” airfreight, which is more expensive. However, because space is limited, booked shipment could still be bumped-even if booked as “must fly”.
  • It is becoming more difficult to secure international bookings. We encourage anyone who has an open request with Arta to book as soon as possible to avoid lengthier delays.

Meredith Blechman

Meredith is a marketer with 15+ years of experience across CPG, ad agency, consumer tech and SaaS. She spent the last 10 years building marketing teams and strategy at early to mid-stage tech startups. Now, she consult for climate-focused companies.

About Arta

We provide end-to-end logistics solutions for merchants and marketplaces worldwide.

We’re continuously evolving our e-commerce infrastructure for the global collectibles industry through automated transaction, fulfillment, and post-purchase technology. Arta's software provides instant shipping and handling quotes for any item type, regardless of size, material, or price point. Our API automates shipping and fulfillment for high-value items, providing a frictionless purchasing experience for our clients’ buyers.

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