Semester of Graduation

Fall 2023


Master of Civil Engineering (MCE)


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineeering

Document Type



The Covid-19 pandemic caused unprecedented disruptions in global supply chains and port operations, leading to congestion, delays, and container shortages. Governments implemented containment measures, affecting social behavior and economic activity. Ports faced significant challenges due to shifts in demand, labor shortages, and supply chain bottlenecks. E-commerce surge and other disruptions intensified pressures on ports. The pandemic's impact exacerbated challenges for ports and supply chains, and triggered inflationary pressures. This research aims to investigate the impact of Covid-19 on port congestion and the global supply chain at the Port of Long Beach, Port of New York and New Jersey, Port of Rotterdam, and Port of Shanghai. The objectives include quantifying shipping volume, identifying trends, analyzing factors, and enhancing understanding for policymakers and stakeholders in building resilient supply chains. The research collected data on Covid-19 cases in the four port cities, as well as container ship arrivals and departures and container throughput at the four selected ports for analysis. The analysis calculated vessel dwell time and used it as a metric to observe port congestion. Port congestion means that ships arrive at the port and cannot load or unload, as the terminal is already full. The variables of local Covid cases, ship arrivals/departures, and container throughput were then observed in relation to the vessel dwell time at each port in an attempt to understand the cause of port congestion. The findings at each port were then compared to one another to observe the variability in efficiency at the different ports throughout the pandemic. Severe congestion in U.S. ports may be attributed to consumer spending and unprecedented container throughput overwhelming the ports, exacerbated by limited workforce availability during Covid-19 outbreaks. In contrast, the Port of Rotterdam and Port of Shanghai maintained consistent vessel dwell times, showcasing efficiency and resilience. The research highlights the vulnerability of U.S. ports to changes in consumer spending, leading to an influx of goods and overloaded ports, reducing efficiency and increasing dwell times. Future opportunities involve addressing limitations, enhancing data collection, conducting comparative studies, and exploring technological innovations to build more resilient and efficient global supply chains.



Committee Chair

Wolshon, Brian

Available for download on Wednesday, October 23, 2024