Before November 2019, we were a world that was used to instant gratification. Items would be shipped to us in days, from all over the globe. The rise of COVID-19 has changed our ability to access, send and receive items on a mass and global scale. The logistics industry has taken a toll and is suffering from repercussions of the global impact a pandemic has had. Here are 5 ways COVID-19 has affected shipping and logistics.
Everything is done online.
While countries like Australia, New Zealand and Sweden are operating as normal, the majority of the world is still in some form of lockdown. This places limits on people’s ability and desire to go to their shopping centers and get what they want, as they want it, in real time.
This has led to a boom in online shopping.
Online shopping is good for consumers but for logisticians it can be a nightmare. Items that were once being sent to certain places at regular times are now being sent at irregular and sporadic intervals to unknown places.
It is nearly impossible to forecast in advance.
The rise in online shopping has made it nearly impossible to forecast. Predicting where and when items will need to be shipped is now a near impossible feat. A once stable industry is now unstable. Another factor making it hard to forecast is the border closures. COVID-19 has caused many borders to close and often this extends to freight ships. Countries that were once a booming haven of industry are now unable to get their products out there, and shipping companies are turning to countries such as Turkey, who have open borders at the time of writing, to supply them with the good they need.
Electronic documentation has increased.
Orders being placed online streamlines the order process so they can be more electronically based. This lowers the manual workload of administrators and analysts in the industry. This also allows companies who have been lagging behind to catch up to the digital age. Electronic documentation lowers risk of human error in an industry where one mistake can cost millions.
The industry has to change.
Shipping and logistics has long been a fairly stagnant industry. The same tried and true methods had worked for decades and aside from updating technology, not much has changed. Thanks to the impact of COVID-19 shipping businesses now need to adapt and be more self aware of their impacts. Testing for disease before docking and selecting countries with better treatment for manufacturers may become a permanent part of the way the industry functions. The logistics industry needs to change the way it forecasts and analyses trends. New types of fuel may need to be used, resources may need to be sourced from the otherside of the globe. No one yet knows exactly how the industry will change. The length of time COVID-19 stays around will certainly impact change, all we know for certain is that shipping and logistics will never be the same.