COVID 19 – A Setback For the Logistics Sector

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Though China restored steadily it’s manufacturing capacity up to 70 percent by the end of February 2020, but market recovery was not possible at the time due to the outbreak of the pandemic in the trading partner nations of China. The trucking sector of China evidently showed the negative effects of the pandemic as the volume of trucking fell 15 percent, that of 2019. However, the situation tends to change miraculously as the level of long- haul trucking raised to 50 percent by the end of february and 92 percent in march 2020. It highlighted dual success of the Communist Government, containing the virus within a short span and Government’s lenient policy towards trucking viz- waiving national highway tolls and quarantine requirements of truck staffs.

India and the rest of the world

Within a very short span of time, the pandemic spread over a considerable part of the globe. As discussed earlier that after much exploration, the National administrators equivocally supported the path of lockdown to break the chain reaction of the virus. Such a lockdown was made tighter with numerous protocols which again proved to be devastating for the logistics sector. Social distancing in the warehouses was one of them. The main protocol of the lockdown included the closure of the International borders. According to the sources, in the European Union, trucks formed 37 miles long lines on the A4 highway after Poland closed its border with Germany. In India, there was an acute shortage of drivers during the period of lockdown which resulted in piling up of around 50,000 containers in the ports of Chennai, Kamajarar, and Kattupalli.   

In India, the only relief in the situation was the availability of the freight trains provided by the Indian railways. Though the mode of transport was only used for the supply of very essential commodities within the national territory.

Ocean, Land and Air freight equally affected

During the period of Lockdown for the impact of the increasing COVID 19 cases across the world the freight carriage in all three sections, viz- ocean, land, and air were highly affected. According to the report issued by the Chinese Naval – total container volume handled at Chinese ports dropped by 10.1 percent in the first quarter of 2020. Constraints to the ocean freight affected the trade and commerce of the leading exporters like Brazil, China, India, and Mexico, as well as importers like the European Union. It has been predicted that lack of demand would impede the normalcy of the trade routes between Asia and Europe, the United States of America, and Latin America. Even though the nations are striving to normalize the sailing, within a short period.

Compared to Ocean freight, land freight faced lesser constraints. Land transport was generally available except in countries with severe lockdown adherence. Trucks were in additional demand for services like food and medical supply. In some cases, the land freight system was alleged of demanding higher rates, also there was an acute shortage of drivers and road staff. As the manufacturing sector had been jeopardized so the rates of road freight had fallen in some markets.

To discuss the air freight, the volume fell by around 19 percent in March 2020 due to the reduction in passenger flights and the drop in manufacturing in China. Airfreight rates increased considerably. In mid-April, the capacity of Airfreight witnessed an increase. Along with that, the overall reduction in capacity was greater than the net reduction in demand, which supported higher rates.

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