This article demonstrates just how delicate, yet durable, the global supply chain is. Ports around the world were affected by COVID-19, but the demand for supplies never ceases – it most likely increased driven by fear of not having food and supplies to stay indoors while trying to fight the global pandemic. People around the world shared this fear, and there were probably a few days at the beginning where that kind of thinking wasn’t too far-fetched.
The article provides commentary from Victor Restis, president of Enterprises Shipping & Trading S.A., located in Athens, Greece. He agreed that in the beginning, the markets took a hit and that the international shipping and trade industry maneuvered to accommodate. It makes sense as the entire industry is built on human resources. Seafarers, warehouse workers, truck drivers, and the millions of jobs among them were at risk simply because the virus was infecting people, and those people needed to be isolated. Simple mathematics. No people, no workforce, systems strain or fail, and supply chains grind to a halt. Fortunately, this did not happen, and leaders like Mr. Restis were making sure those systems didn’t fail.
It is good to see that isolated areas like the U.S. state of Hawaii weren’t too affected either. In this day and age of globalism, depending on countries halfway around the world is a risk, but I am sure there are fail-safes built into the international shipping industry. Doing some quick research on the internet, I learned other, more remote areas weren’t as fortified as Hawaii. Though I don’t know if the word isolated exists in the international shipping and trade industry. When you look at shipping maps, including container ships, dry bulk carriers, oil and fuel tankers, gas carriers, etc. there is virtually no strip of water untouched. It truly is impressive. This is good news for areas of the world that seem to be out of reach, but when you look at the extensive shipping industry and the routes it covers, you will see there are no gaps, which makes health pandemics like COVID-19 scary.
For example, Hawaii could count on the continental U.S. if it needed supplies. Countries like Tasmania could reach out to Australia for help, but other parts of the world could be entirely cut off if the supply chain was harmed. Let’s hope that never happens, and I trust executives like Mr. Restis are now looking at ways to avoid any disruptions to global shipping and trade and are keeping supply chains moving strong.
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