The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting countries in many ways, and the situation is continually changing as governments impose new measures. Shipping agents are tackling this new challenge by drawing on existing resources and networks and developing new ones.
Port delays require significant work to resolve, but they are still not as important as the needs of each ship’s crew. Inchcape shipping agents are working hard to protect all the sailors and port workers as the world works together to stop the pandemic.
Handling Delivery Delays
Crew screening procedures, delays in road transportation, and other logistical challenges have caused delays at and around ports. Shipping agents are diligently working to ensure that most dock employees and other support staff can still report to work, even in hard-hit areas. This has mitigated the delays and kept vital supplies moving.
As oil prices return to normal, there will likely be a spike in tankers attempting to deliver their shipments to port. This can cause additional backups at ports, but shipping agents are working well in advance to plan for this increased traffic.
Repatriating and Providing for Crews
Cruise ships and cargo ships are facing difficulties in getting their crews home. In many cases, shipping agents can facilitate transportation and other logistical needs for crews. When disembarkation is not yet possible due to local restrictions, shipping agents work to provide supplies for crews.
Because of how easily COVID-19 can spread, maintenance is a challenge. Sending specialists to ships is a necessary risk, but there are ways to reduce the risk of exposure for all parties.
Inchcape is working with ships to facilitate standard maintenance and ship husbandry tasks while minimizing human contact and risk of transmission. For example, we are perform underwater inspections using drones to allow full access while minimizing the number of people necessary for inspection and repair.
Getting the Global Picture
Logistical problems and local health concerns can vary widely, and shipping agents must have their finger on the pulse of the areas around origin and destination ports. Inchcape’s 240 offices in 68 countries help give us an on-the-ground look at the situation around the world as we help keep marine maintenance operations intact. We stay up to date on newly announced restrictions and risk factors so we can plan and react appropriately.
Dealing with Changes
Thanks to the cooperation of the global community, many countries have made significant progress in slowing the spread of this pandemic. As researchers discover more about how COVID-19 spreads, the maritime industry must watch closely and enforce changes to protect customers and seafarers.
Shipping agents play a key role in keeping global supply chains moving. With the right technology and operational strategies, we can all rise to the challenge while keeping each other safe.