Drastic Freight Increase for Containerized Cargo in the Pandemic Era: Lack of Mutual Commitment


MARINE TECHNOLOGY SOCIETY JOURNAL, vol.55, no.5, pp.8-19, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 55 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.4031/mtsj.55.5.10
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Applied Science & Technology Source, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), CAB Abstracts, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, Environment Index, Geobase, Pollution Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.8-19
  • Keywords: container shipping, COVID-19 pandemic, discourse analysis, freight increase, mutual commitment, SHIPPER-CARRIER RELATIONSHIPS, LOYALTY, STRATEGIES, SELECTION
  • Kocaeli University Affiliated: Yes


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has seriously damaged the operational harmony of container shipping. Initially, it led to a decrease in the overall throughput of containerized cargo. The industry has faced blank sailings and a lack of container equipment after rising container demand. Operational harmony has not been established for more than a year. Extremely increased freight rates have unprecedently put the shippers in a difficult situation. This study examines the circumstances in terms of the shipper and shipping line relationship and underscores the loose commitment between them. Accordingly, this study questions the mutual commitment of this relationship. This institutionally problematic relationship has become prominent in terms of its consequences in the COVID-19 pandemic era. The problematic part of this relationship is discussed through discourse samples representing different branches of the container shipping industry, using the discourse analysis methodology supported by the literature review. The findings indicate that both shippers and shipping lines recognize that a commitment-based relationship requires decisiveness; however, their priorities in the pandemic era overshadow it. Their mutual commitment may help to alleviate the consequences of any chaos in the future of container shipping, which requires critical projection.