February 29 ------ The impact of the outbreak of the coronavirus is estimated to be costing the shipping industry USD 350 million a week in lost revenues, according to the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). The virus outbreak is having a significant impact on the shipping sector and the industry is working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure that guidelines for industry and governments help limit the spread of the virus, whilst maintaining international trade. As such, the ICS Secretary General, Guy Platten, is leading a delegation of industry leaders to meet with WHO in Geneva and discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the industry. ICS estimates that more than 350,000 boxes have been removed from global trade as a result of the outbreak.
As informed, global supply chains continue to suffer, and issues remain around the quarantining of ships at ports, crew changes, and ensuring the health of seafarers and passengers. “We have proposed a collaboration with WHO to evaluate and refine best practices regarding managing health threats in a shipboard environment. The cruise industry, in particular, has highly advanced practices and procedures and we are looking for practical ways to adapt those to broader maritime applications. We hope this effort will help provide some additional clarity and consistency for shoreside authorities when addressing ships during a health emergency,” Platten said. “Our thoughts are especially with the Chinese people and the maritime industry is standing ready to be a powerful engine that helps them recover when this situation improves.”
ICS has been advising all members to closely follow the WHO-backed guidelines on how to limit the risk of infection.