Global shippers: COVID complications could hit $20 trillion in trade

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The International Chamber of Shipping and other industry organizations have released a “joint open letter” pleading for priority in COVID actions for the maritime, land and air shipping industry workers – in order that the world’s economy continue churning.

“Our collective industries account for more than $20 trillion of world trade annually, and represent 65 million global transport workers, and over 3.5 million road freight and airline companies, as well as more than 80% of the world merchant shipping fleet,” the letter explains.

“Seafarers, air crew and drivers must be able to continue to do their jobs, and cross borders, to keep supply chains moving. We ask heads of government to urgently take the leadership that is required to bring an end to the fragmented travel rules and restrictions that have severely impacted the global supply chain and put at risk the health and wellbeing of our international transport workforce.”

The letter also notes a need for a stable world vaccine supply.

Its goal is a supply of “WHO-recognized vaccines” as well as a “globally harmonized, digital, mutually recognized vaccination certificate and processes for demonstrating health credentials.”

Those, the letter said, “are paramount to ensure transport workers can cross international borders.”

It cited the nearly two years’ of strain on the industry, especially the maritime and road transport workers, which has resulted in disruptions of supply chains, global delays and shortages of electronics, food, fuel and medicines.

“Consumer demand is rising and the delays look set to worsen ahead of Christmas and continue into 2022,” the letter said.

The coalition also asked for a meeting with the World Health Organization and others to seek solutions. “before global transport systems collapse.”

The letter also was from the International Road Transport Union, the International Air Transport Association, the ICS, the International Transport Workers’ Federation and more.

The Epoch Times explained the warning was to the heads of state who will be at the United Nations General Assembly.

Already, the letter said, supply chains “are beginning to buckle.”

“All transport sectors are also seeing a shortage of workers, and expect more to leave as a result of the poor treatment millions have faced during the pandemic, putting the supply chain under greater threat,” the letter said. “We also ask that WHO and the ILO raise this at the U.N. General Assembly and call on heads of government to take meaningful and swift action to resolve this crisis now.”

There already have been significant indications that the problems are growing. Dozens of container ships await docking on America’s West Coast, delayed by circumstances and problems stemming from COVID-19.

That has prompted some officials to warn store shelves during the Christmas shopping season may not be adequately stocked.

And Costco, one of the retail giants, revealed it is chartering its own container ships between Asia and North America to supply products.

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