With the unprecedented time that has occurred in the last twelve months, the challenge for shipping trade brought on by COVID-19 has affected the entire world. However, despite the hits and the delays, the shipping and logistics industry has continued to offer essential services maintaining itself as crucial player in ensuring global economic functions continued despite the downward economies and difficulties in operation abilities.
The logistics industry initially responded well to the impacts of the pandemic, despite the various disruptions that have occurred through the year. These included port disruptions as well as outbreaks of cases on vessels. In order to move and facilitate the supply of essential goods and medicines through the world, there have been many challenges for shipping trade this year. However, it should be mentioned that earlier this year, the IMO declared the IMO 2020 memorandum to facilitate the reduction of Sulphur emissions. Along with the outbreak of the coronavirus as well as measures to mitigate climate change issues, political factors and not to mention piracy concerns and other threats aboard ship, this year has been a difficult time for the maritime and logistics industry.
One of the biggest challenges for shipping trade brought on by the coronavirus is crew welfare with the inability to change crews. Ports, borders and not to mention travels restrictions set by different countries have not enabled crews leave and extended their services on board vessels. Usually crews would have been able to disembark every month, but due to COVID-19, they have not been able to and has thus factored into extended periods, which can attributed to fatigue and lead to human errors.
Further, marine insurance claims can be seem in different areas of sea travel, however with concern to cargo insurance claims, in terms of lockdown measure causing delays in goods held in warehouses or in transit can have a great impact. This is especially so with concern to perishable and temperature controlled freight that has high risk towards damage or value reduction, which has been a big disruption of global supply chains. Whilst lockdown measures and to add to it, lesser staff has caused higher risks in terms of theft and also fire damage due to extended periods of storage expected due to delays. All these factors have a long term knock on effect through the various stages of the supply chain. Furthermore, disruption to maintenance schedules also can incur many damage risks, which can pose issues in the future, and not to mention inspections, surveys and emergency respond could hinder safety in the long run.
With all these coronavirus induced challenges for shipping trade, the coming year the industry will need to adapt to the status of the industry and the each government will need to factor all the different disruptions and proceed with caution.