Coronavirus: Impact on the Transportation and Logistics Industry

Posted on July 08, 2020

The transportation and logistics industry performs one of the most vital services of the modern globalized and interconnected world. Since the beginning of 2020, many countries worldwide shut down their borders and limited transportation and travel to contain the Coronavirus outbreak. This pandemic affects almost every dimension of economic activity and individuals globally; consequently, essential supply chains in the logistics and transportation industry are hampered, though differently across air, freight, and sea sectors. 

As of February 13, 2020, over 350,000 cancellations were registered in global container shipping traffic since the coronavirus outbreak's beginning became apparent in January 2020. Over 151,000 boxes were removed from the Europe-Asia route

As of April 3, 2020, 149 blank sailings had been announced on deep-sea shipping routes due to the coronavirus pandemic. Of these, 108 were announced between the Chinese New Year and mid-March, as the COVID-19 outbreak unfolded in China. The remaining 41 announcements were made after March 13. 

There were also reports of backlogs building upon the Yangtze River; airfreight out of China was down, and ship operators were unwilling to visit Chinese ports thanks to the prospect of a viral outbreak on large but minimally manned container vessels. Meanwhile, empty containers were stranded in the wrong locations.

Currently, Ports of entry from Mexico and Canada to the United States continue to operate normally without delays. Airfreight rates from China and Europe into the United States have normalized from peaks in April and May. Many medical and PPE supplies shipped via air are now arriving via ocean freight, and the supply chain has somewhat stabilized. Increasing passenger air travel in several countries is also growing global air freight capacity. 

It will be a slow return to normalcy. If you have any questions regarding the impact of the coronavirus to your supply chain or would like additional research and market intelligence, please contact our Americas Consulting and Sourcing manager Mitchell Turiel at or (239) 219-7179.