How COVID-19 Impacts the Transportation Sector

The COVID-19 pandemic has struck the international community in unprecedented ways. The effect of this global health crisis is also felt across the transportation sector, as our guest author Naomi Cook reports.

Still, throughout the lockdown period, the transportation industry ensures that all transportation networks operate continuously and material handling during transit is done accordingly.

Transport groups and companies need to utilise an effective marketing solution for their business to reorganise capital investment plans in line with the unexpected shocks to revenue.

This article discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the transportation industry. It also includes some recommendations for the transportation sector during these trying times.

The Impact of the Global Pandemic per Transportation Sector

Civil Aviation

The civil aviation sector has been among the most severely hit industries globally.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has extensively observed and monitored the economic impact of COVID-19 on the industry. It regularly publishes reports and forecasts.

Still, the future remains unclear for the civil aviation sector.

Based on ICAO’s report, the world passenger traffic collapsed during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic with an unprecedented decline in history.

In 2020, the decline in the total world passengers was -59 to -60%.

Maritime Sector

Unlike the civil aviation sector, the maritime industry has proved resilient to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Despite the global pandemic, several ports have stayed open to cargo operations. Unfortunately, most of them remain closed to passenger traffic.

Regardless of crew changes and disruptions at ports, the shipping industry has continued to operate globally. They continued to facilitate the transport of essential goods and medicines necessary to keep countries running.

Still, the shipping industry is not exempt from experiencing a few challenges. One of the issues for shipping companies during the COVID-19 outbreak has been the inability to change crews.

Changing crews is crucial to ensure the employees’ health, safety, and overall welfare. Because of the travel restrictions, crew members have to extend their service onboard, unable to return to their families.

Extended periods of working onboard may lead to crew fatigue. When workers are tired, they’re prone to making errors.

Road Transport Sector

The road transport industry is vital to social and economic development. This sector guarantees mobility across countries, contributing to job creation and preventing a shortage of essential goods.

Many countries imposed restrictions on domestic transit to control the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, the policies have resulted in a downturn in trade and the supply chain.

Public Transportation

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted public transport dramatically. The regulations that various countries implemented impacted the number of passengers using public transportation.

Waiting stops have been limited, sharing cabs have been prohibited, and installing protective screens between driver and passengers have become a requirement.

Railway Sector

Most countries have implemented lockdowns that forced people to spend most of their time at home. The restrictions have limited the movement of people in specific cases, except for essential workers.

On the other hand, the regulations on rail operations differ from one country to another. Usually, they depend on the procedures countries have made to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

During lockdowns, many countries closed their borders to passenger traffic.

In Europe, for instance, the European Commission decided to close the external walls. Thus, many EU member states also shut down their internal borders to passenger traffic. However, they have maintained their freight services.

According to the International Union of Railways or UIC, rail freight provides commodities like food, coal, and related materials. Unfortunately, the overall freight traffic has also been reduced during the global pandemic.

The Utilisation of Digital and Green Logistics in the Supply Chain

The massive impact of the global pandemic already has a pronounced effect on the logistics industry.

For this reason, several tech companies are utilising digital logistics tools to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on the supply chain.

Digital logistics guarantee end-to-end visibility in orders, inventory, and shipments across the supply chain. Using digital logistics is to make the supply chain more resilient, efficient, and flexible.

However, the traditional approach to logistics typically leaves environmental sustainability on the sideline, especially during the decision-making process.

Hence, some companies use green logistics. Green logistics are sustainable policies that aim to reduce the environmental impact caused by business activities.

Companies may optimise their transport fleet management to limit emissions. They may also use systems that assist delivery route planning and prioritise load pooling.

Recommendations for Global Solutions

Here are some recommended solutions to seek global solutions to minimise the impact of COVID-19 in the transportation sector.

  1. Every sector should consider the COVID-19 pandemic as an occupational disease.
  2. Make sure to provide free PPEs to all workers to ensure their safety while doing their jobs. Applying safety protocols is also recommended.
  3. Sustainable government financial support to the transportation industry is necessary so that workers from this sector can maintain decent jobs.
  4. There must be a discussion about the future of work. The transport sector must work with unions and worker representatives to implement fair and acceptable policies.
  5. Subcontracting workers in transport sectors should be able to keep decent jobs. Governments should enforce legal ways to ensure the protection of informal workers.
    Transport workers in the informal industry have suffered from lockdowns everywhere. They have been paying a high price, losing their livelihoods without having proper protection in social security.
  6. There must be equal distributions of COVID-19 vaccines to underdeveloped and developed countries.


The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone worldwide, and the transport sector is no exception.

Therefore, the government, the transportation industry, and unions must deeply understand the importance of seeking global solutions for this phenomenon.

Social justice and the battle against inequalities must also be a top priority.


Daniel Mahnken
Daniel Mahnken is a Head of Corporate Communications at Saloodo!. As a qualified journalist, writing is practically in his blood. After studying sports journalism, he wanted to become Germany’s Next Sports Commentator, but then he discovered logistics and has been stuck with it ever since.

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