In 2020, most of the world's economies slowed down sharply, especially during the second quarter of the year. In the following months, market conditions depended on the scale of restrictions imposed on certain sectors. Border closures and lockdowns forced logistics services customers and their providers to develop new solutions and remodel their supply chains. The rapid automation of workflows has brought the industry closer to full digitization. Logistics companies had to modernize supply chain interaction points and rely on digital customer interaction to fulfill and ship orders. The crisis dramatically increased demand for groupage transport services and forced supply chain planners to adopt more flexible approaches.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has led most AsstrA business partners to face the unprecedented challenge of making short and long-term adjustments to projects they had already started. It was not possible to manage most requests using the traditional supply chain models we had previously been developing for clients. The AsstrA team had to design and consider new possibilities, develop completely different transport schemes, and recommend new solutions to new problems. All this with the utmost speed and urgency,” emphasizes Nataliya Sheremetyeva, Head of Italy Focus Market Sales at AsstrA Italia.
For Italian customers, the AsstrA team in Bergamo organized sea shipments as an alternative to road deliveries. There were favorable results even for long-time clients who had relied exclusively on road transport up to that point.
At the beginning of the year, shippers faced a significant challenge organizing an alternative to air transport. The aviation industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with an estimated 50 airlines having collapsed worldwide since March 2020. It is very likely that this sector is one of the most hurt by worldwide lockdowns.
“During periods when numerous airports in Russia were closed or with limited service, we replaced air shipments with both maritime and intermodal solutions in order to be able to deliver goods to recipients' warehouse while balancing deadlines and costs. For customers shipping cargo to destinations around St. Petersburg and Novorossiysk, our specialists in Bergamo developed maritime and intermodal alternatives that require 4-5 more days in transit but significantly reduce the costs and ecological footprint of transport," adds Stefano Morlini, a Sales Specialist at AsstrA Italia.
While the current situation remains uncertain, the global coronavirus pandemic has clearly demonstrated the importance of expert know-how, effective risk management planning, and advanced technologies when it comes to maintaining supply continuity during inevitable transport disruptions. The global challenges created an opportunity for logistics companies with comprehensive service offerings, strong digital customer support tools, automated order confirmations, and online monitoring capabilities to strengthen their positions on local markets.
“Despite the turbulence related to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 was marked by further dynamic growth for AsstrA Italia. We quickly adapted to the new business realities. The team transitioned to remote work without sacrificing service quality or operational efficiency. When the pandemic first struck, we developed a multi-channel order fulfillment model that helped us serve new customers from a variety of industries including wood and paper,” says Luba Zakharava, AsstrA Italia Country and Branch Manager.