Post-Covid Scenario of Container Market: Impact of The Scarcity of Empty Shipping Containers Over High Prices of Commodities In the Global Supply Chain Environment


  • Shahrukh Zohaib Bahria University - Maritime Sciences Dept
  • Dr. Asif Inam Principal Bahria School of Maritime & Applied Sciences
  • Mrs. Atiya Jan Muhammad Silat Department of Public Administration - University of Karachi



Container market, container scarcity, global supply chain, maritime supply chain, post COVID scenario, high prices of commodities


Seaborne trade, particularly containerized trade, was expected to suffer a significant decline at the outbreak of the coronavirus of the 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Due to the reason that supply chains are obliged to import various items and resources from China to meet consumer demand for commodities such as medical equipment, home office supplies, and computer equipment. As China recovered from months of trade suspension, an imbalance was developed, with the country sending around three containers for every one imported. Furthermore, the container crisis reflects a slowdown and delays in the maritime supply chain because of pandemic-related strains, such as port labor shortages, port congestion (also due to blank sailings), and capacity constraints in the truck and other inland transportation systems. Due to a lack of empty containers, backlog at ports resulted in freight prices surpassing record highs by the end of 2020 and early in 2021. The surge in freight prices was felt in various developing countries, including Africa and Latin America. As a result, shipping and container rates skyrocketed, resulting in prolonged delays for businesses, the total cost of ownership (TOC), and thus the price of commodities. Therefore, this paper emphasizes over repercussions of constraints on the whole maritime supply chain and propose measures for dealing with potential future container shortage.

Author Biographies

Dr. Asif Inam, Principal Bahria School of Maritime & Applied Sciences

Worked at National Institute of Oceanography from 1984 to 2019. Did PhD from the University of Wales. Served as Director of Pakistan's Continental Shelf Programme. Participated in the scientific expedition to Antarctica. Member of the Legal & Technical Commission of the United Nations International Seabed Authority (2007-2011). Appointed as Director General of the National Institute of Oceanography in 2015. Retired in April 2019. Head of Department of Maritime Sciences, Bahria University Karachi since May 2019. Promoted to principal of Bahria School of Maritime & Applied Sciences (BSMAS) in August 2022 and serving till date.


Mrs. Atiya Jan Muhammad Silat, Department of Public Administration - University of Karachi

Atiya completed an MBA in marketing with distinction and now pursuing a Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Karachi. She has been involved in various local and international research projects and has served various organizations as a research analyst.


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How to Cite

Zohaib, S., Inam, A. ., & Silat, A. J. M. (2023). Post-Covid Scenario of Container Market: Impact of The Scarcity of Empty Shipping Containers Over High Prices of Commodities In the Global Supply Chain Environment. Journal of Nautical Eye and Strategic Studies, 3(2), 32–43.