The Importance of Shipping During a Pandemic

By: | April 13th, 2021

Have you ever stopped to think about just how much of your life is actually dependent on global shipping networks? Now more than ever, during COVID-19, we can appreciate the vast chains and networks of connection that are responsible for almost all of our necessities and comforts. 

From transport trucks to massive container ships, service providers have to be sure their fleets are up and running with the latest Caterpillar parts, and all points are operating efficiently to keep this vital network functioning smoothly.

Here are some of the necessities we require that depend on effective shipping networks.


With an estimated  68% of people projected to live in cities by 2050 and a majority in current times, we must ensure that our shipping of essential food items can reach all these urban dwellers, especially during COVID-19. Feeding everyone is a challenge that we will have to face in a responsible manner that simultaneously meets everybody’s needs and keeps global carbon emissions below the recommended amount. 

Essential Medicines

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how vital global shipping networks are for the transportation of essential medicines and supplies. Vaccines hold the promise of ridding the world of the novel coronavirus, that has battered the world’s health and economic situation. While the vaccines are vital, they would not be useful without the global shipping networks that provide the necessary logistical solutions.

Shipping vaccines comes with many challenges. The Moderna vaccine, as well as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines need to be stored cold, with Pfizer requiring a deep freeze of -94 degrees Fahrenheit. Nations or states without the necessary cold storage could face extra logistical problems and could risk losing precious vaccines should the necessary precautions not be taken to protect these supplies. 

In short, the fastest way out of the pandemic and back to “normal life” is dependent on how quickly and effectively viable vaccines can be shipped around the world and distributed to populations. 

Essential Supplies

Before the pandemic, China produced more than half of the world’s supply of face masks. The early days of the pandemic saw supply global chains grind to a halt, forcing nations to find other methods of acquiring the means of providing PPE for front-line workers and citizens urgently.

Other supplies being shipped around the world include syringes, effective at extracting vaccine from the vials in the most efficient ways, as well as gloves, bandages, sharps containers, alcohol wipes and more.  

Boom in E-Commerce

The fact that many people remain confined to their homes under lockdown for extended periods of time has forced many to take to the internet for all their shopping needs. The shipping industry has had to try to keep up with this surge in demand while navigating the fact that many areas have been unable to trade. This means that there are empty shipping containers in parts of the world which can cause fluctuations in costs for providers and customers.

The Bottom Line

The current pandemic has been a trying time on many levels. Never have global shipping networks been more important than in the current state which has forced so many to stay at home and remain reliant on shipping for their daily necessities, including food, household goods, and medical essentials. 

The path out of the pandemic remains dependent on vaccinations. The effectiveness of vaccinations is dependent on the logistics of shipping around the globe rapidly so that they remain viable. 

The shipping industry has taken a harsh blow during the pandemic but has been able to prove its resilience at the same time. All this has shown the central role that global shipping systems have on modern life.


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