Examining the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic On Container Carrier Performance

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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected various industries in different ways depending on their type of business. We attempt to understand the impact of the pandemic on the performance of 26 major container carriers. To capture performance differences before and during the pandemic, we collect data the years 2019 and 2020. Further, we divide carriers’ business processes into two stages, i.e., asset acquisitions and transport operations. We employ relevant data envelopment analysis (DEA) models to this effect. The mean efficiency score in 2020 was higher than in 2019. Overall, container carriers increased their performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, seven companies showed lower efficiency in 2020. Similarly, eight companies were efficient in their operations but not in asset acquisition decisions. Our results show that firm strategy is important in coping with external shocks. The contribution of the paper is in measuring the impact of external shocks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, on the performance of container carriers, both in regard of their acquisitions and their operations.


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Maritime Economics and Logistics