The spread of COVID-19 brought around new challenges for couriers, air freight and supply chains in general. In aid of stemming the spread of the virus, many countries entered states of lockdown that affected not just the public, but business and world economies. As a Dubai courier, we were not found to be exempt from the struggles.
Adjustments and innovations that were brought about because of the pandemic have changed the face of logistics forever. Couriers had to become more flexible and more resilient, whilst also working safely, supply chains needed new protocols to ensure essentials were still delivered.
The first step for governments was to deem supply chains essential services, this allowed ports, shipping, trucking and airports to operate. Whilst airports were closed to the public, they remained operational for freight.
New Safety Protocols
To stop the spread of the disease, social distancing had to be implemented in warehouses. For staff who became ill, it was important that they were paid for their time off so they did not risk coming in and infecting others. In addition, protective gear such as masks were worn, and there was an increase in cleaning and sanitization.
Significant reductions in passenger planes meant a significant reduction in belly cargo space. Companies such as DHL began to use charter flights to take shipments from China. With 60% less passenger planes in the sky, the China-Europe rail line is still witnessing increased freight. This trend is predicted to continue.
Last Mile Delivery
For the boots on the ground, no contact deliveries became the method by which to stem the spread of the disease. In China, robots that were already under-development were pushed through to handle deliveries. Whilst these are still scarce, they were showcased at the delayed Dubai Expo 2020.
Here to Stay
These changes were essential during the more restrictive months of the pandemic and much has remained; even though lockdowns have eased.
Some of the long-term changes seen have been with airlines reallocating planes from passenger service to cargo. This helped in meeting increased demand in air freight and ensured planes are not sat redundant.
Technological advances, which had already been experiencing a boom, exponentially rose during the pandemic. Systems such as the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, AI, robots and autonomous vehicles have helped cover the labour shortages.
The world has continued to turn, and shipments have continued to reach their intended destination. This is down to the quick responses from supply chains and governments, in relation to the outbreak of COVID-19.
To read more logistical challenges, why not check our blog on the Logistics of the Dubai Expo 2020.
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