With more than 80 percent of the world’s cargo being transported by sea, keeping the global Shipping industry in operation helps keep international trade going through the corona crisis.
The Secretary-General wishes to refer to the outcome of the G20 Leaders Summit on COVID-19 of 26 March 2020, which, inter alia, addressed international trade disruptions and agreed as follows:
“Addressing International Trade Disruptions
- Consistent with the needs of our citizens, we will work to ensure the flow of vital medical supplies, critical agricultural products, and other goods and services across borders, and work to resolve disruptions to the global supply chains, to support the health and well-being of all people.
- We commit to continue working together to facilitate international trade and coordinate responses in ways that avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade. Emergency measures aimed at protecting health will be targeted, proportionate, transparent and temporary. We task our Trade Ministers to assess the impact of the pandemic on trade.
- We reiterate our goal to realize a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open.”
The United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) is actively taking steps to ensure the global flow of goods. Through clear recommendations, the IMO asks its 174 member countries to facilitate shipping, and thus to enable the flow of goods to continue unimpeded throughout the corona crisis.
In these difficult times, the ability for shipping services and seafarers to deliver vital goods, including medical supplies and foodstuffs, will be central to responding to, and eventually overcoming this pandemic.
The Secretary-General in the IMO, Ki–Tack Lim
The purpose of IMO’s measures is to maintain the value chains so that goods continue to emerge.
Here are some of the main recommendations:
- Providing access to berths in ports
- Measures to facilitate crew changes in ports
- Measures to facilitate port (and related) operations
- Measures to ensure health protection in ports
This is an important call from the IMO, and we expect all countries to facilitate the continued supply of food, energy, and medicines to the world under demanding conditions.
Harald Solberg, CEO Norwegian Shipowners Association
Secure the delivery of medicines and food
The IMO stresses that the world’s maritime nations are committed to continuing to cooperate on coordinated measures that do not create unnecessary obstacles to international transport and trade.
IMO Secretary-General Ki–Tack Lim specifically asks the authorities to ensure that no restrictions are placed on the ability of seafarers to perform the jobs that are so important to the world community. It is crucial, for example, that crew is able to move between countries, to secure efficient crew-changes. We are also encouraged to seek pragmatic solutions for inspections, docking, and certifications. The IMO also points out the importance of keeping ports open and in normal operation.