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Protect maritime workers during COVID-19 crisis: Chamber of Shipping

Vancouver, BC – Canada’s marine shipping industry is joining a worldwide call for the G20 and the UN to support the maritime sector and to “act quickly to protect global supply chains.”

In an open letter the two organizations representing the global shipping industry and the worlds ports and harbours—the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH)—called on world leaders to act quickly to protect global supply chains from the impact of COVID-19.

“In this time of global crisis, it is more important than ever to keep supply chains open and maritime trade and transport moving. Leadership from the G20 in calling for a co-ordinated approach by governments, working in conjunction with the UN International Maritime Organization, WHO, and other relevant agencies is therefore of the utmost importance.”

According to Robert Lewis-Manning, president of the Vancouver-based Chamber of Shipping, “this means a deliberate and coordinated approach to protecting port/terminal workers and seafarers and facilitating the movement of key transportation workers between countries.

“Canada is being recognized globally as taking a safe and pragmatic approach to facilitating trade and protecting workers during this extraordinary and challenging period and many nations are looking at Canada as a model for the world. From my perspective, there is nothing more important than the safety of our marine workforce and we must collaborate closely to ensure that their safety is maintained,” he told Canadian Shipper.

Robert Lewis-Manning, president of the Vancouver-based Chamber of Shipping. (Chamber of Shipping)

In the letter, the ICS and IAPH stated: “Ninety per centof global trade is transported by commercial shipping, which moves the world’s food, energy and raw materials, as well as manufactured goods and components—including vital medical supplies and many products sold in supermarkets, items that are necessary (due to complex supply chains) for the preservation of many jobs in manufacturing – without which modern society simply cannot function.”

Guy Platten, secretary general of the ICS said:

“Shipping is the lifeblood of the world. Without the efficient and safe transportation of food, medical supplies, raw materials and fuel, countries could face an even more difficult situation than the one we are all facing. We need nations, led by the G20, to work together to provide coordinated rather than kneejerk restrictions to protect us all from COVID-19. We need pragmatic, science-based and harmonised guidance for the global maritime sector that ensures the safe delivery of the goods that we are all going to rely upon in the coming months. This is a simple ask that can deliver a win-win for all.”

“Governments should support shipping, ports and transport operators in doing everything possible to allow transport of goods in and out of ports so that food, medicine and other vital supplies will continue to reach people worldwide,” added IAPH managing director Patrick Verhoeven.


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