Since the beginning of 2020, the pandemic’s impact has rippled its way through the global economy. Many sectors have been hit with a decline, but logistics and trade have had extremely pronounced impacts.
Of course, while there is a lot of financial instability in the sector, there have been many success stories. Companies have continued to move commercial goods across borders and stabilize their bottom lines. In a lighter article, we explored some of the more fun success stories in global trade, as consumer and industry behaviors shifted: Surprising Goods Spiking in Import Volume During the Pandemic.
At the start of this month, FreightOS put out a comprehensive report on the state of the industry — particularly where logistics and technology intersect. As many importers face uncertainty, it may be helpful to read about what industry giants are doing: for inspiration or to model themselves after.
We’re looking at this report in the context of imports, through the lens of the pandemic.
Amazon was certainly quick to act as soon as COVID-19 reared its head in North America. They made many changes to each segment of their supply chain. For example, they hired 100,000 more warehouse workers and rolled back FBA for non-essential orders to keep up with demand.
As of now, they are still struggling to meet their shorter-than-average delivery time and have pushed back Prime Day.
However, all things considered, Amazon has been very successful during this time and even Walmart is hot on their tail to compete, working on a rival to Prime called Walmart+.
Alibaba was instrumental in helping China weather the storm. They quickly made deliveries in Wuhan when the lockdown order was enacted. They even developed a dedicated expedition platform for orders and fulfillment of medical supplies in China.
Similar to Amazon, the pandemic did not put a dent in the efficiency of Alibaba’s logistics. They were even able to expand the .com website to US-based small business sellers and continued to expand Aliexpress throughout the EU.
FreightOS also reported on other interesting changes in the logistics community, as they saw increased adoption of technology solutions. It appears that, while being hit with some tough economic blows, the industry is quick to try tech solutions to streamline their operations.
Here is a list of some of the shifts in the industry:
- Zim launched electronic bills of lading
- Ocean Network express launched electronic bills of lading
- WebCargo reported a record number of air cargo online bookings
- Evergreen launched GreenX, for marine booking online
- WebCargo partnership with Etihad Airways
- Lufthansa opened up an eBooking API
- CH Robinson launched a supply chain solution incubator
- Kontainers added air and road freight to their online portal
- DCSA partners with Chain.io to build a carrier, forwarder, and shipper platform
This movement is really exciting for the industry. It shows that players at many stages of the supply chain are working hard to modernize and future-proof their offerings. As we continue to navigate through these uncertain times, it’s increasingly important to look at what others are doing in your sector.
There are organizations of all kinds that are a litmus test for good things ahead. Stabilization and resiliency are the name of the game!
If you’d like to learn more about how a broker partnership can strengthen your importing business, even in strange times, we are available for a conversation. Click here for a 0-commitment chat with an expert.