Overviews and Activity Reports
Published in
Submitted by
Related theme(s)
COVID-19, Trade & Transport
All Regions
All Countries

COVID-19 and maritime transport: Impact and responses

Maritime transport underpins global supply chain linkages and economic interdependency with shipping and ports estimated to handle over 80 per cent of global merchandise trade by volume and more than 70 per cent by value. As a result, when disruptive factors such as pandemics occur, the sector works as a transmission channel that sends shockwaves across supply chains and regions. Disrupted transport networks and supply chains can significantly undermine world trade and economic activity. With developing countries playing a large role in global maritime transport and trade, and with vulnerable economies such as small island developing states (SIDS) depending heavily on maritime transport for their livelihood and access to the global market place, safeguarding the integrity of the maritime transport chain is a sustainable development imperative. SIDS are already burdened by disproportionately high transport costs and low shipping connectivity making their trade uncompetitive and costly. The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) triggered a global health and economic crisis with wide-ranging implications for maritime transport and trade. Restrictions introduced in response to the pandemic have caused disruptions affecting ports, shipping and supply chains. Various industries faced challenges along their supply chain such as raw material shortages, lead time issues, ocean blank sailings, port closures, reduced working hours at ports, equipment and labor shortages, as well as truck/transport capacity constraints. These obstacles undermine the smooth movement of trade flows and supply chain operations and can significantly erode the transport services trade liberalization and trade facilitation gains achieved over the years. (…)


The article is available on the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) website and by clicking the link below: