The outbreak of COVID-19, an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus, has caused confusion and terror around the world, preventing everyday activities such as going to work, taking a walk outside, and in certain places, even going outside the house. The shipping industry is one of the industries that has been severely damaged by the disease’s spread.
This outbreak has put the shipping industry in the worst possible position, as the workforce in these sectors has been shut down just for safety and to avoid COVID-19 from spreading. This setback has also been created by the stop of all types of cargos via water or air during the quarantine period (isolation period), as the movement of such cargoes on ships or by air could potentially spread the virus from one port to another.
Every country’s competent health authorities are avoiding the possibility of COVID-19 spreading, which has resulted in the decline in import and export of products and goods between countries. All such items that could previously be transported easily by ship or other device must now follow a set of rules and procedures, which has reduced demand for such cargos.The additional problems of quarantine periods have caused a further drop in demand for such cargos, resulting in a delay in shipping. Due to the 14-day waiting time or the waiting period specified by the relevant authorities in each nation, packaging materials cannot be transported.
To handle the risks highlighted by the scenario planning process, as well as any legal or regulatory requirements, appropriate policies and procedures must be adopted. For example, shipping companies should ensure that rules that comply with regulatory criteria have been communicated onboard in order to reduce the risk of infection and to ensure that any such incidents are recognized and isolated as soon as possible.
Other considerations may include:
Keeping full visibility of their officers and personnel, particularly those on board vessels who are unable to return home due to travel restrictions.
Identifying critical voyages on which crew may be unable to get to board because of port restrictions;
Identifying and evaluating situations of seafarers who will extend their onboarding period beyond the allowed periods.