Independent journal on economy and transport policy
CENTRO INTERNAZIONALE STUDI CONTAINERS
ANNO XXXVIII - Numero MAGGIO 2020
SHIPPING AND FREIGHT 'WILL BOUNCE BACK'
BUT THERE WILL BE HI-TECH CHANGE
The chaos caused by Covid-19 will lead to far greater use of
technology, which until now has lagged in logistics compared with
Some 67% of shipping and freight professionals plan to invest in
technology following the Covid crisis, according to a survey
conducted by Shipping and Freight Resource and sponsored by Ocean
One-third said investing in staff would be the first step to
recovery, while a quarter opted for investing in assets.
The pandemic has heightened the need for technology, said
respondents, especially in the area of supply chain visibility and
the need for real-time information.
"Logistics still needs to undergo a technological
transformation (long queues at the European borders this month
highlighted again the lack of visibility during transport and lack
of reliable ETA)," noted one.
Others suggested that, while they already operate online, they
needed to enhance their IT capabilities and reduce manual processes.
Most companies seem fairly confident in their ability to recover
from the pandemic crisis, with only 2% believing they won't.
However, the recovery is unlikely to be quick: 43% expect a slow
recovery, 38% moderate and 19% expect a fast recovery, while 3%
The survey compilers noted: "While the new normal is
something that we will all have to get used to, it is refreshing to
see that the industry is not down and out, but accepting of the hit
it has taken and ready to take the required actions to bounce back
stronger and more secure than ever."
And the industry has taken a hit. Just under 60% said their
operations were significantly affected, while 25% were moderately
affected. A lucky - and surprising - 1% said they were unaffected.
Most, 70%, have experienced volume decline, while 61% complained
of transit delays. Half saw delays from the port to customers, while
40% cited lack of capacity as a problem.
Late or non-payments, cancelled credit lines, volatility and
increased costs were also noted.
More than a third, however had experienced a partial supply
chain shutdown with significant delays, while roughly the same
amount pointed to "glitches" that had caused a few days'
worth of delays. But 14% said the supply chain had adapted without
issue. Only 9% reported a complete supply chain shutdown.
And the future? It will change. Nearly half (42%) said they
would change their strategy based on the experience of the Covid
crisis. Just under one-third said they might change strategy, but
the same number said they would not.
The survey noted: "Global supply chains and shipping as we
know them will be different. Sharing information and understanding
best practices will enable the industry to come together and combat
this as a whole. If there was ever a time for collective efforts, it
The survey was answered by more than 300 shipping and freight
professionals across the world, 96% of which were from carriers,
logistics providers, freight forwarders/NVOs, consultants and
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