To Freeze or Not to Freeze – Global Ports
As countries seal borders to prevent the spread of the flu-like virus, the shipping industry, too, has taken a hit. Ships and their crews must be able to trade freely with minimal port restrictions to ensure supply lines don’t freeze up while the coronavirus shuts down much of the globe!
After draconian steps to stop the spread of the virus, China’s economy is slowly coming back online, but logistics chains are backing up in other parts of the world. This has been compounded by ships being quarantined for up to two weeks and seafarers held up as countries impose lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) association, which represents more than 80% of the global merchant fleet, and the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) jointly called on the Group of 20 major economies to allow merchant shipping to keep flowing.
“Ensuring that seafarers can travel without undue restriction will be key to maintaining the flow of food, medicine and key commodities to those countries that need it most,” said ICS secretary general Guy Platten, urging crews to be classed as key workers.
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“The G20 can send a clear message to all countries.”
G20 leaders will convene a video conference on Thursday to discuss the coronavirus epidemic, multiple sources told Reuters, amid criticism that the group has been slow to respond to the global crisis. IAPH managing director Patrick Verhoeven said governments had to do “everything possible to allow transport of goods in and out of ports.”
Italy faces the biggest risks with the shipment of goods, shipping officials say, with the death rate from the virus in the county now exceeding that in China.
“As Italy is considered a main area of concern in the world … it makes it even more challenging for the shipping companies to carry on trade and be the lifeline needed for supplies for Italy,” says Stefano Messina, president of Italy’s shipping association Assarmatori.
G20 finance ministers and central bankers agreed during a separate video conference on Monday to develop an “action plan” to respond to the outbreak, which the International Monetary Fund expects will trigger a global recession.
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The unprecedented shutdown across the world has hindered the movement greatly. Initially, containers were not moving out of China, as there was no one to unload them at the docks, industry executives say. This led to a pile-up of demand for containers from Indian exporters. Now when China is showing signs of revival, Indian ports are facing a lockdown. The bottom line, loading of cargo continues to be a problem.
The situation in India is better than in large parts of Europe and the United States, where the virus has spread aggressively. Even in the best-case scenario, the Western nations will take time to spring back to normal.
Sectors like textile that account for 10% of India’s exports could see a major decline in revenue, as demand will fall in China, the US and Europe, industry executives say.
Governor of NY Inspires State Citizens & Americans at Large
Yet, amid all of the turmoil, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo offers inspiration to the State, and the United States at large.
“And we’re going to get through it because we are New York, and because we’ve dealt with a lot of things, and because we are smart. You have to be smart to make it in New York. And we are resourceful, and we are showing how resourceful we are. And because we are united, and when you are united, there is nothing you can’t do. And because we are New York tough. We are tough. You have to be tough. This place makes you tough. But it makes you tough in a good way. We’re going to make it because I love New York, and I love New York because New York loves you.
“New York loves all of you. Black and white and brown and Asian and short and tall and gay and straight. New York loves everyone. That’s why I love New York. It always has, it always will. And at the end of the day, my friends, even if it is a long day, and this is a long day, love wins. Always. And it will win again through this virus.”
Inspiring words for difficult times.