MIAMI – DHL International and the New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business have released the DHL Global Connectedness Index 2020 (GCI). The GCI tracks international flows of trade, capital, information, and people across more than 150 countries and territories. The 2020 edition is the first comprehensive assessment of globalization during the pandemic.

Despite being called the “worst pandemic in a century”, DHL does not consider COVID-19 to cause globalization to collapse. It does, however, note that the pandemic has been a “serious stress test” for globalization. DHL refers to travel bans, closed borders, and grounded passenger airlines as some of the major impacts the world is experiencing.

“This report shows that globalization did not collapse in 2020, but that the pandemic did transform – at least temporarily – how countries connect. It also demonstrates both the dangers of a world where critical linkages break down and the urgent need for more effective cooperation in the face of global challenges,” says Steven A. Altman, Executive Director of the Center for the Globalization of Education and Management at the NYU Stern School of Business.

“Stronger global connectedness could accelerate the world’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as countries that connect more to international flows tend to enjoy faster economic growth.”

Photo: John Leivaditis/Airways

Road to Recovery

According to DHL, people flows have “suffered an unprecedented collapse” this year. However, all other types of flows have been holding up quite well. Trade and capital flows plunged at the onset of COVID-19, but are already beginning to recover. Additionally, digital information flows are surging as people and businesses strive to stay connected online.

International trade is rebounding strongly and remains a vital foundation for economies worldwide. Strong policy responses from governments and central banks across the globe have helped to stabilize markets. Supply chains are continuing to keep operations going and digital technology is constantly proving to be an essential tool for the world.

“The current crisis has shown how indispensable international connections are for maintaining the global economy, securing people’s livelihoods and helping companies strengthen their trading levels. Connected supply chains and logistics networks play an essential role in keeping the world running and stabilizing globalization especially at a time of a crisis that spans our globe,” comments John Pearson, Chief Executive Officer of DHL Express.

“This reminds us of the need to stay prepared for any challenge. The recent vaccine breakthrough has put a spotlight on the systemic importance of fast and secure medical logistics dependent on a worldwide interconnected network that effectively ensures international distribution.”

Featured image: John Leivaditis/Airways