How COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts International Shipping

Higher cost, delay, complaints from customers, endless waiting… If you wonder why the shipping is so expensive and slow during the pandemic, the answer can be shortened as three keywords: lockdown, restriction, and supply and demand mismatch. To know the reasons better, you should continue reading this article.

At the centre of this problem are lockdown and following restriction. At the core of these lockdowns is the restriction on the movement of goods and people by closing entry points like air, sea and land ports, severely disrupting global value chain and supply channels.

Rapidly after the COVID-19 emerged, numerous airlines have shut down because the demands of long-haul flights decreased sharply since nearly every country in the world implements a shutdown and people are not allowed to cross borders. Both passenger airlines and airports are empty due to the highly-infectious virus.

Apart from passenger airlines, there are also cargo airlines that carry goods oversea and arrive at the destination country. They are unavoidably affected by the horrible situation, as a result, the demand for air cargo has dropped by 15% worldwide.

Despite the decrease of demand, the supply has reduced even much more hence the supply and demand mismatch: Compared with demand, the air cargo capacity has lowered to 77%, so that an 8% gap between demand and supply was formed. Besides, the 8% gap caused the shipping fee to rise and the shipping time to increase.

What’s more, as we all known how important PPE is to staff of hospitals and normal people like you and me in face of COVID-19, the priority is given to medical supply with no doubt. What’s the consequence of it? Even more limited space for cargo air shipping and you need to wait more time to see your goods loaded on an airplane.

Any ideas on how to conquer the status quo? The answer may sound passive but very much down-to-earth: Prepare more time for the shipping and wait patiently for the pandemic to end.

For more information on how COVID-19 impacts international shipping, please check this video: