The sudden outbreak of Covid-19 strangled the activity of humans, economic and social for a certain period. It has done unprecedented havoc to every sector of the economy. As for the nations, one by one continued to grapple with Covid-19, danger started looming over international trade. Nationwide lockdown, enforcing strict measures to the movement of goods, borders restriction and various other restrictions were made to stop the spread of the virus.
The maritime and shipping industry faced the greatest ever challenge to maintain international supply chains. Accounting for more than 90% of global trade, the maritime industry was in a deadlock situation. All the trade and logistics operations were shut down, ships, oil tankers, containers and vessels were stranded around the world. Sea ports, shipyards and harbours were overcrowded with vessels and ships due to lack of movement. In brief, the Covid-19 pandemic has given a massive blow to the shipping industry and coming back on track will not be easy.
How Covid-19 Has Affected the Sea Ports and Its Workings
The advent of the COVID pandemic was so sudden that it started ravaging the business, lives, economy, and industries worldwide. The cost of devastation can not be estimated, the effect of Covid-19 will look for many decades to assuage. It will take ample time to heal and facilitate operations like before. The sea ports have seen adverse consequences due to the virulent virus. Let’s see how the major sea ports suffered due to deadly Covid-19:
Closure of Ports
Soon after the pandemic started hovering around the world, the governments enforced strict lockdown. The ports were closed down due to mandatory quarantine periods to protect the workers. The entry of marine vessels was restricted and made not destined to go to port. As an essential measure to stop the spread of the virus, all the major sea ports were closed down.
Overcrowded Storage Facilities
The ports faced an unparalleled challenge to maintain the proper storage facilities. Untimely cargo ships and needs for essential goods created a difficult scenario to manage the port’s capacity efficiently. All the warehouses were full or left for only necessary goods.
Vessels, cargo ships, containers, tankers and cruises all were stationed nearby ports. Many shipments and containers got stranded, waiting for unloading. Lack of workforce and due to precautionary norms, all these ships were left abandoned.
Lives and Livelihoods of Workers
All the workers faced an enormous challenge to protect themselves from the deadly virus and along with running livelihoods. Due to the closure of ports, the source of income got halted for the labourers. All the activities directly or indirectly engaged with ports came to halt, which resulted in a fight for survival for informal workers. The duration of the lockdown had been quite long, creating anxiety, mental stress, and other health problems.
Several cargo owners chartered their vessels to a specific port to load and unload. Due to preventive measures, only a few ports remained in working conditions, causing loss to the freight owner. Some of them are engaged in a legal battle and asked for compensation as well. This is also one of the major issues which affect sea ports operations. Most of the perishable goods left abandoned due to a shortage of workers.
The effects of the pandemic can be seen in the long term. With the advent of Covid-19 vaccine, the world is hopeful to get back to normal life. Several sectors have to start from scratch to stand as they were before. The deadly virus has changed the prior rules and norms of the world. With better technologies and up-to-date shipping services, the shipping industry is getting back on track swiftly.