The novel coronavirus that leads to the COVID-19 severe respiratory illness was first reported in late 2019 in China but has since spread around the globe, grinding life and the economy nearly to a halt in almost every corner of the world. The long-term impacts of the pandemic will not be realized for years, but the immediate effects are beginning to become alarmingly clear. The cascading fallout of stay-at-home orders and widespread illnesses leads to disruptions in the supply chain, of which the cargo industry is a critical component.
Multi-Faceted Issues Confronting Shipping
The world has become a socially and economically linked system. The increase in business, resource and human connections across the globe lead to interdependent societies. Every country relies on the cargo industry for the import and export of goods necessary for a fully functioning and healthy state in today’s economy. As indicated in an insightful piece on COVID-19 and cargo shipments, the pandemic is causing significant disruptions to the shipping industry, not just from the spread of the illness itself, but also from factors such as:
- Quarantine restrictions for cargo crews
- High unemployment rates
- Business and manufacturing closures
- Decreased demand for non-essential goods due to income loss or uncertainty
The cargo industry is a key link in the global supply chain. The current crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the vulnerabilities of the industry to a widespread global risk and underscores the importance of providing protections for shipping companies so that they can continue to provide for the greater good in a globalized world.