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Coronavirus crisis – Don't underestimate danger to ports and shipping from COVID-19
Coronavirus caused dock workers to lose jobs: Port of Long Beach exec
Port of Long Beach executive director Mario Cordero says supply chains in the port industry have been severely hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
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Empty streets. Virtual meetings. Major religious sites and institutions shuttered. In some countries, there are even curfews. And while this may feel like another episode of the "Twilight Zone," for much of the planet, this is the new reality.
As large swaths of the world move closer to lockdown and borders close, prompting a 10 percent drop in air traffic, the one area of transport that continues to flow is shipping. This is critical, because without it global trade and the supply of essential goods would grind to a halt.
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With oil prices close to their lowest levels since 2003, and COVID-19 causing utter chaos throughout the world, trade flows are now changing. Countries, including the U.S., the EU-27, Australia, and India have set new restrictions on shipping and inbound seaborne trade. These range from barring vessels that have been at sea for fewer than 14 days, to more rigorous sanitation and health measures. COVID-19 is not only changing the world on land, but it is beginning to change everything at sea as well.
It is time to take bold steps to embed sophisticated technology into the tools of the professionals who guard our countries’ shores and ports to avoid the threats that will be bubbling up in the immediate future — before they become a tidal wave of danger.
Lost against this backdrop is that ships follow trade — not the other way around.
When countries impose restrictions on shipping, trade changes. The 14-day restrictions imposed by Queensland, Australia, for example, caused cattle shipments to Indonesia to change, as it’s only a six-day route.