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Transportation and Logistics Affected by Covid Globally

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many problems throughout the world. One major problem that was very noticeable from the start was the lack of supplies and product being available to consumers due to the decline of transportation and logistics. Products such as toiletries, hand sanitizer, masks, food, and other healthcare needs were swept off the shelves and were scarce for a very long time. The lack of these supplies caused many people to panic about how they were going to stay safe while going to public places, as well as being able to do every day needs while not running out of products that are necessary to use during that time.

Transportation and logistics were forced to do an abrupt change because of the global affect the virus had on the world. The problem that these areas saw was the lack of preparation and ability to carry out the needs of the consumer which forced a trickle-down effect on a global standpoint. From getting exports, to making local deliveries, the logistics and transportation of goods was heavily impacted in a negative way. Transportation management is a global process that ships all kinds of materials and products from country to country. China is the biggest export country in the world which happens to be where the virus came from. China was fast to implement changes to many areas such as no coming or going in an area, shops and restaurants would be closed, and permission had to be granted to transport any type of goods by the government. While it was going to affect the economy, it had to be done in order to save lives and prevent the spread of the virus. Due to the fact that China is the world leader in exports, countries like the United States, Canada, Japan, and many others were already experiencing a backup in supplies and materials before the virus was even confirmed in their respective countries. “Global road transport activity was almost 50% below the 2019 average by the end of March 2020 “(iea.org).

During the pandemic transportation was forced to make changes to meet the needs of their customers. Changes such as preparing to have workers ready at any time was very important for flying or road transportation. Also, figuring out new patterns that transportation will need to implement was key on making sure that delivering products were still able to get to where they needed to be efficiently and effectively. Due to the rise in demand of certain products the transportation industry was transitioning to prepare for prioritized shipments and have fewer valuable items have a delay so that they could satisfy the more important customers’ needs. These customers were stores that sold products such as food, safety equipment, clothes, and other necessities to live. One of the biggest changes that the transportation industry has had to adapt to was giving these essential workers the safest environment to work in so that shipments can be executed in the most efficient and effective ways. These changes included masks, gloves, sanitizers, wipes, distancing rules, and Covid-19 tests. This gave the workers an environment where they can work to their fullest capacity while feeling safe at the same time.

Logistics was heavily affected due to the pandemic, which was a problem when dealing with lack of supplies and goods for consumers. One thing that many companies did not do before the pandemic was have a safety stock of goods. Due to the pandemic, many of the products that were supposed to be in the warehouses were on cargo ships, other warehouses, or unable to be distributed. This caused a heavy increase in wait time for consumers and stores that needed products. Smaller companies were severely hit because they are almost never backed up from orders. The inability to get sanitizers, wipes, and other safety products were hard to get due to bigger companies and stores taking the bulk of those products. The technology that was needed during this time was also not their priority before the pandemic which caused an even further disruption in small logistics companies.

Bigger companies were forced to downgrade and use less resources because of the money loss and the change from in person working to online, as well as dealing with laying off employees. With certain products in demand like food and safety products, companies were forced to change their logistical approach on what the necessary products were to their customers and how to ship, store, and supply these goods. When dealing with logistics, this area also had to make many changes in how they were going to fix the problem of goods and resources not reaching customers. When dealing with logistical solutions, companies needed to change how they stored safety stock. While ordering an abundance of a high demand product, companies would be able to fulfill orders to their customers in a timelier fashion instead of having to wait on material suppliers to get their regular shipments on time. Process innovation was also crucial to the change in logistics such as moving production to a more local location would help prevent backup from getting materials in other parts of the world. One of the biggest problems was the lack of materials due to back in other countries. By having a more local location, companies would get materials both faster and efficiently. Logistics in supply chain was also forced to look at the benefits of additive manufacturing to increase warehouse supply and maximum storage. Things like 3D printing and adding machinery were carried out by companies to fulfill order requirements.

One of the most important part of the change logistics had to make was increasing the technology that is used to communicate with suppliers. With almost all work being done online, the upgrade in technology was needed for the logistics side of supply chain to communicate and overcome obstacles that were coming up every day.

Due to Covid-19 the transportation and logistics of supply chain were hit hard in regard to getting products to customers. Transportation was cut down globally and companies were forced to make changes in order to get the needs of consumers to them efficiently and effectively. With the global effect of the pandemic the United States was forced to make changes to these areas in order to keep the people safe and have life be as normal as possible. There is no doubt that Covid-19 was detrimental to the United States and the supply chain industry. With innovation and many changes these areas of supply chain were able to bounce back as much as they could to adapt to what the world is today.

Authored by: Connor Beck


Get in touch Karen Bowman US Automotive Leader & US THS Co-Leader (2021, March 29). Understanding covid-19’s impact on the transportation sector. Deloitte United States. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/aboutdeloitte/articles/covid-19/covid-19-impact-on-transportation-sector.html.

Global supply chains in A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD. Harvard Business Review. (2020, August 18). Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2020/09/global-supplychains-in-a-post-pandemic-world.

Guardian News and Media. (2020, March 19). China’s coronavirus lockdown Strategy: Brutal but effective. The Guardian. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/19/chinas-coronavirus-lockdown-strategybrutal-but-effective.

Iea. (n.d.). Changes in transport behaviour during the COVID-19 crisis – ANALYSIS. IEA. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.iea.org/articles/changes-in-transportbehaviour-during-the-covid-19-crisis.

Twinn, I. (2020, June). The impact of covid-19 on logistics. ifc.org. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/industry_ext_content/ifc_external_corporate_site/in frastructure/resources/the+impact+of+covid-19+on+logistics.

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