How can a small virus stop an Ocean Vessel? See why …
The Ocean shipping network is been doing reasonably well despite the corona virus COVID-19 issues.
The problem is there’s no guarantee that future shipments will go on as normal even though most of the cargo volumes have rebounded at China’s ports.
So, the wheels of the great system of global trade are slowly getting back into motion.
Part of the reason was the inbound and outbound delays.
These were due to an extended Chinese New Year holiday and other issues (https://dglworldwide.com/2020/ship-happens-imo/)
Now that the Chinese are back to work, what about those working on the ships?
Ship crews typically work several months in a row and then are sent back home to their country for a break.
Fresh crews replace them for the next ocean vessel trip. We are talking about 100,000 crew members monthly.
However, with the corona virus everything is disrupted due to the travel restrictions including crew changeovers. It’s a pinch point.
Another serious concern is that of ship crew members getting infected by the virus.
If so, this not only mandates the ship being quarantined at the port but also prohibits its cargo from being discharged. Talking about a double whammy !
Logistics is yet another concern. A vessel needs fresh supplies and spare parts for the ship, usually when it docks.
These parts and supplies are difficult to obtain due to travel restrictions and fears of contamination.
But wait there’s more.
Look at these Port restrictions.
Some countries now require that 14 days have to pass before a ship can enter its harbor since its last visit to a (previous) overseas port !
So imagine if your vessel had visited what is now considered a COVID-19 stricken port. The ship has to wait 14 days before it can enter its next (stop) harbor.
The corona virus has an extending reach because if port workers get infected then the whole area or worse, the whole terminal has to be closed as a precaution.
This scenario then prevents the cargo from being offloaded causing further delays and complications.
Can you imagine if someone in the Panama Canal got infected and got on a Vessel and infected the crew?
For that reason the Panama Canal Authority has tightened its rules recently regarding illness and anything associated with the corona virus.
Major Shipping lines like Maersk Line have temporary halted crew changeovers.
How would you like to be on a vessel for 6 months and find out you can’t leave (for now) to get back home and be with your family?
All of this affects global trade – especially if infections become an issue.
So, keep safe, follow the CDC guidelines and keep your hands clean !
Remember, others are counting on you. Count on us so Ship Doesn’t Happen Moor Often…and you get docked !