Effect of COVID-19 on the Shipping Sectors

Outbreak of the infectious COVID-19 has resulted in the cessation of several regular activities and occurrences, including and especially the shipping and maritime industry. These sectors were shut down for the safety and prevention of all. This setback has resulted in the standstill of all cargo shipping. This widespread pandemic has resulted in a major brunt of the shipping and maritime industry across all global ports. Major import and export trade chains faced issues as well. In the time of adversity and urgency of this situation, bans were imposed by various countries on container entry and vessels operated from other ports. These impeded operations have tampered with logistics and operations of several industries. Ports are operating at low capacities, in addition to overcrowded storage facilities. Maritime transport and shipping industry have faced several challenges and issues, as detailed below:

1. Port Closures

Ports were closed on account of quarantine periods on account of the various conditions imposed, such as the ban of marine vessels into certain countries to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The entry of vessels to certain countries has been restricted or prohibited, causing chaos among the marine transport facilities globally.

2. Lower Cargo Demand

There was a decline in import and export of products and goods between nations on account of COVID-19 related restrictions. Goods previous transported via ships have to follow a set standard of protocol that has limited the demand for cargo. Delay in transportation due to added complications of quarantine periods led to further cargo decline.

3. Disputes

Owners & Charters: Charters hiring vessels from owners arise on account of time and money losses. Periodic hire of vessels are facing issues in the sense that the time period is negated due to force majeure.

Lay Time Settlement: Owners grant vessels to charters for limited periods of times, for fixed costs. Overriding of time periods leads to additional costs to be paid for surpassing the set time period. COVID-19 has imposed major difficulties on the settlement of time periods, such as that the vessels are prohibited from entering certain ports forcing them out on territorial waters for extended periods of time. This forces them to be a party to pay additional costs under light of dispute. Again, on account of force majeure, costs are not paid and this causes losses.

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