The crew change crisis continues. Some very strong remarks by Hugo De Stoop, CEO of Belgian tanker giant Euronav, at the International Chamber of Shipping webinar indicated that ship owners’ desire to hide out from problems like crew welfare means they have no power to force governments to let their nationals back in. Their flag states have little influence on the world stage.
It’s the worst crisis in 200 years. And it’s a humanitarian crisis, as so many of the COVID-19-induced crises are. Who will step up and take action?
Modern slavery is not like the kind we know from the colonial era. Instead, people have no permanent jobs or benefits, and there are no rules controlling their employment relations; or perhaps there are not even jobs to be found. Society for most becomes anarchy, nations of refugees with nowhere to be, nothing to do.
According to this report, quite a few countries, mostly in the far east, are moving into a high risk category because of layoffs and dislocations due to the virus. In a sense, though it is happening everywhere, even in the US. People can’t find jobs, and it’s likely to continue long after the virus passes out of daily consciousness, as companies figure out how to do more with less. We will be converted to nations of gig workers with fewer and fewer gigs.
This interesting article shows how CargoMetrics is using data on ship lading, IoT readings, and vessel tracking to determine the amount of trade to and from China right now. the Coronavirus problem in China has essentially caused ocean commerce to and from China to plummet since Chinese New Year (CNY).
Bulk shipments such as iron ore and coal have dropped over 40% according to the article. Container shipments out of China have also dropped, probably due to the disruption of work schedules at Chinese manufacturers. There are also issues involving quarantine of ships and cargos due to the virus. The article is especially good when it uses graphs to show the changes.
Of course, this is a great promotion for Cargometrics’ capabilities. I think one would have to look closer to discover how well Cargometrics’s data truly represents the entire range of activity, but the trends shown are certainly marked.
One very interesting fact the article gives is that petroleum imports have not dropped yet; they are up by a considerable amount. This may be due, so they say, to the longer transit times. The ships may have to lie to near Chinese ports when they cannot unload due to the quarantines or port handling issues. The other shoe may yet fall even in the tanker business.