The Impact of Crises on Maritime Traffic: A Case Study of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the War in Ukraine

The article by employees of our Department was published in the journal “Networks and Spatial Economics” by Springer. The work analyzes the impact of international crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, on maritime traffic and their consequences for the global and local economy. Using data from Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) and advanced big data analysis methods, studies were conducted on changes in maritime traffic, highlighting China’s growing importance in global maritime transport and the potential effects of future crises in this region on the global economy.

Maritime transport plays a key role in the global and local economy, accounting for 80% of global trade by volume. This makes smooth operation of the maritime transport essential. However, the sector faces the constant risk of various crises and their potential consequences that may significantly impact and disrupt the movement of goods on local, regional, and global levels. In recent years, two notable crises, namely the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, have been observed. This paper aims to analyse how international crises, such as armed conflicts and pandemics, influence maritime traffic and assess their impact on both global and local economies. A comparison is drawn between the periods before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and before and during the war in Ukraine to exemplify the effects of crises. The findings are then extrapolated to apply to potential future crises.

Vessel movements were studied using data collected from Automatic Identification Systems (AIS). In quantitative approach, authors analyzed big data using dedicated tools and visualisation techniques to gain insights into specific phenomena. The paper identifies economically significant regions for maritime traffic and examines the impact of crises on their performance. Its unique value lies in its flow-based analysis of changes in maritime traffic.

The main conclusion is that China’s importance for worldwide maritime traffic is increasing. This makes the global economy heavily reliant on China to a substantially greater extent than it is, for example, on Russia. Consequently, any crisis in the China region could exert a dramatic impact on the global economy. The paper also discussed observations of changes in maritime traffic following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.

The paper “The Impact of Crises on Maritime Traffic: A Case Study of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the War in Ukraine” is available in open access on the Springer website. Authors of the publication: Krzysztof Węcel, Milena Stróżyna, Marcin Szmydt, Witold Abramowicz.