Coronavirus Outbreak Threatens the Shipping Industry As Ports Enforce Restrictions

Consumers and businesses alike rely on the shipping industry for a steady supply of food, fuel, and medication. The 2019-2020 novel coronavirus outbreak is affecting many countries, ports, and organizations. 

 

Coronavirus disrupts shipping industry

A lot of docks in China are blocked with arriving containers. Warehouses overflow with goods that cannot be exported because of the lack of trucks. Many factories are temporarily closed because some components are not reaching them. 

As China tries to jump-start the economy, one of the biggest obstacles lies in the country's half-paralyzed logistics industry. China has some of the world's biggest and newest ports, but using them has become a lot harder because of quarantines and factory closings. 

The Chinese government agencies have announced a series of measures at getting the country's trucking fleet and ports humming again. But no one can say how quickly activities will return back to normal.

 

Preventive measures for COVID-19 at ports all around the world

Shipping companies that carry goods from China to the rest of the world say that they are reducing the number of seaborne vessels as measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which limits the demand of their services and further threatens to disrupt global supply chains. 

 

China

The ports in China are restricting vessels arriving from nine countries including the U.S. and Singapore in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus that could possibly be brought by visiting ships and their crew. 

Vessels arriving from Japan, South Korea, Iran, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the U.S., and Singapore won't be allowed entry into the port until they've completed a mandatory 14-day quarantine. The countdown begins when ships depart from those nations. 

 

United States

Dozens of cruise ships are suspended to hit U.S. cities as some port authorities including those in Monterey and Santa Barbara, close their docks to large passenger ships. 

As the coronavirus raced across the nation in the past two weeks, the US Coast Guard released a notice that all vessels carrying passengers which have been to Iran, China, the United Kingdon, Ireland, and the European States, in the last 14 days, will be denied entry into the U.S. Those who exceed the 14-day period with no symptoms of the coronavirus will be free to enter the country. 

 

Singapore

National Environment Agency's requirements for all vessels arriving to the Port of Singapore need to submit the Maritime Declaration of Health to the Port Health Office. 

All short-term visitors from anywhere in the world will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore. The Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) has implemented temperature screening at all sea checkpoints including ferry and cruise terminals, PSA terminals and Jurong Port, for inbound travelers. 

 

Australia

The Australian Government has announced that persons entering Australia must undertake a precautionary self-isolation period for 14 days upon entry to the country. This applies to any person entering Australia, including Australian citizens and permanent residents. A person who is entering Australia for less than 14 days must self-isolate for the entire duration of their stay. These measures apply to all entities entering the country, whether via aircraft or vessels. 

 

Japan

Japan's Ministry of Justice is denying permission to land foreigners unless the circumstances are exceptional. 

This includes foreigners who have stayed in any of the following cities within the 14 days prior to the application for landing: China, Korea, Iran, Italy, Marino, Spain, San Marino, Swiss Confederation, Iceland, Hong Kong. 

 

Turkey

Turkish port vessels will be kept at the anchor area and there will be no contact with the vessel until the 14 days is completed. Sanitary officers will board the vessel in the first instance for medical check of the crew members and the vessel's operations at the designated port will be guided by the authorities' decision following the medical check. The country has placed 33 health inspection centers at various ports to carry out screening procedures.

Ships which pass initial inspection with no suspect cases will still be subjected to the 14-day quarantine period and the crew will be re-examined on the 15th day to verify. If no changes, all restrictions will be dropped. 

 

Preventative measures have already had a direct impact on shipping and, as the virus continues to spread, global demand will decline further as constraints on markets vital to the industry such as manufacturing and industrial activity become tighter. The additional pressures caused by the coronavirus outbreak are likely to exacerbate existing issues, which will impact the financial performance of global shipping companies, which could send the industry into a period of uncertainty.