Just about every aspect of our society changed with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything from social habits to business procedures was impacted, and that includes global logistics. With the changes made to cross-border travel, this effect was inevitable. The question is—to what extent did COVID-19 affect global logistics? Here’s a quick rundown.
Global trade suffered significant losses
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that trade and logistics suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s not certain to which extent. One damning statistic suggests that total global trade dropped to around 17% of its normal volume in May 2020. Needless to say, this did not have a positive effect on the global economy. As a result, plenty of logistics companies didn’t fare well during this time.
Cross-border circulation of workers and products was mostly cancelled as well, which didn’t bode well for the global economic structure.
Closed borders affected imports
To stop the spread of the Coronavirus, most countries closed their borders to a certain degree. Some were more extreme in their isolation, while others chose more lenient measures. In both cases, imports were reduced severely.
As a result, certain products were more difficult to come by. Retailers in various countries had problems with stocking their shelves with basic supplies and amenities. Due to these changes, both retailers and officials had to prioritize differently, which caused massive shifts in the market. Experts suggest that it will take some time before trade is back to normal.
Oil prices dropped
Plenty of commodities and resources have seen drastic fluctuations in price during the pandemic. Nowhere is this more apparent than with oil. The most severe drops in price can be seen in oil and oil products at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This fact should come as no surprise, as travel during the pandemic was restricted significantly and suddenly in a large number of countries. Even within certain countries, travel between cities and states was forbidden for a time. As transport and trade use require an enormous amount of fuel, the demand plummeted, and with it oil prices as well. The only silver lining for this situation is that there was less of an impact on the environment. Less fossil fuel usage inevitably leads to less pollution, which is a big plus.
Maritime container trade went down
Due to the massive drop in global trade, the need for maritime container transport dropped as well. This impacted plenty of businesses, from the ones who handled freight, to the retailers that were expecting shipments. A large number of logistics companies raised their prices due to the lower volume of shipments.
However, as the pandemic rages on, trade is slowly getting back on track. This has increased the need for freight logistics dramatically. As the global economy recovers, demand quickly increases. Businesses are in dire need of transport and logistics management so that they can continue providing products to their customers.
Freight companies in regions that weren’t hit as hard by the pandemic economically are in high demand. Since they can place orders and send shipments on time when few other companies can, every business is vying for their attention. Once the dust settles with the pandemic, they’ll continue to see success due to the advantage acquired during this time.
Future logistics must adapt
While this may be a once-in-a-hundred-years type of situation, you can never be too sure when it comes to business. If another pandemic happens to hit the world at an inopportune time, logistics companies must be ready to adapt. Business leaders are aware of this risk, and they are looking to make improvements that would prevent future drops in trade volume.
Safety procedures and precautions will continue to be a centre point of future shipments. A company that can provide safe transportation will be quintessential if another pandemic takes the world by storm. Facilitating logistics without compromising safety is the mission, though it will take some time before companies can implement the most-effective measures available.
There’s also been an increased emphasis on regional integration. If a freight company can’t be trusted by the country it cooperates with, there’s a higher chance that trade will stop or be delayed in this type of situation. With good cooperation and secure methods, the future of logistics will be much safer, allowing for minimal disruptions in unexpected situations.
As is the case with most aspects of the economy, the negative effects on global logistics are only temporary. After the pandemic is resolved, experts suggest that the minor recession will bounce back into a booming economy. While there’s no way to predict the future, the demand for freight and transport won’t be going away any time soon. When the economy does recover eventually, the businesses that have prospered during this time will be at the forefront of global logistics.