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Bust and Boom in Container Shipping During the Pandemic

Distinguished Research Seminar Series

20210903_Michael Bell_Event Banner
  • Date

    03 Sep 2021

  • Organiser

    Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, PolyU

  • Time

    15:00 - 16:20

  • Venue

    Online via Zoom  


Prof. Michael Bell


Meeting link will be sent to successful registrants

20210903_Michael Bell_Poster


The Covid-19 pandemic had a dramatic impact on global supply chains, and the shipping of containerised products in particular. The demand for goods decreased during the first half of 2020 then rebounded in the second half of 2020, driven by a combination of restocking and expenditure displaced from travel and leisure. At the same time, containerised supply chains slowed down due to the impact of the pandemic on port productivity and consequent port congestion. The reduced reliability of containerised supply chains led to yet more ordering ‘just in case’, further boosting the demand for container shipping. This talk traces the impact of the pandemic on container freight rates, container carrier charter rates, ship values, empty container repositioning, port productivity, port congestion and profits in container shipping. A system dynamics model developed to explain freight and charter market movements in 2020 throws some light on what might happen to the container shipping industry when the pandemic eventually subsides.

Keynote Speaker

Prof. Michael Bell

Prof. Michael Bell

Chair of Ports and Maritime Logistics
Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies
University of Sydney Business School, Australia


Michael Bell is the Founding Professor of Ports and Maritime Logistics in the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at the University of Sydney Business School. Prior to this, he was for 10 years the Professor of Transport Operations at Imperial College London and, for the final 5 years at Imperial, Founding Director of the Port Operations Research and Technology Centre. He graduated from Cambridge University with a BA in Economics and holds an MSc in Transportation and a PhD in Freight Distribution from Leeds University. He started his academic career as a New Blood lecturer in the Transport Operations Research Group at Newcastle University, where he was subsequently promoted to Reader (Associate Professor) and Professor. His research and teaching interests span ports and maritime logistics, city logistics, transport network modelling, traffic engineering and intelligent transport systems. He is the author of many papers, a number of books (including, with Yasunori Iida, Transportation Network Analysis, published in 1997). For 17 years he was an Associate Editor of Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, the leading transport theory journal, and now serves as an Editorial Board Editor. He is also an Associate Editor of Transportmetrica A: Transport Science, an Editorial Panel member of Maritime Policy & Management, and serves other peer reviewed journals in a number of roles. As of August 2021, his Google h-index is currently 62, with 14315 citations Read More

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