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Facets of Zero-COVID policy that impact the industry

The injunction has ruptured supply chains and bled maritime stakeholders dry concerning seafarers

It is hard to deny China’s zero-COVID policy is actively curbing the Omicron’s spread.  While it may appear to be beneficial from the public health perspective, the trade-off unfortunately eclipsed all advantages especially for crew.

Where does it leave seafarers?
World supply chains are reeling from the ruptures and losses are still climbing. When the Omicron made an appearance in China, the republic imposed this policy to contain the virus. As a result, the policy comprised a ban of foreigners’ entries, which translated to seafarers of other nationalities having their job offers possibly rescinded given crew change was forcefully halted.

China’s positioning as the leading newbuilding supplier makes no difference as the country does not have enough blood to board and sail. The existing shipowners and operators with vessels berthed in China would need to make do with whatever manpower they have left. With an acute crew shortage, seafarers would naturally ask for raises, and employers have no options but to comply if they want to sustain operations. On the other hand, if there is a lack of experienced crew, they would also need to risk hiring new crew that may be inexperienced to handle certain ship makes. A lethal cocktail of manpower shortage, crew change and inflation not only ruptures the supply chains, but worsens the supply and demand imbalance.

Additionally, with the quarantine period lasting some 3 weeks, shipowners and operators need to also cough up extra funds to finance the accommodation, and the headcount can be by the hundreds. Essentially, China might have overlooked the implications on world trade with its extreme caution on Omicron for the sake of ensuring the upcoming Winter Olympics proceeds. Some media have reported China’s scored remarkably in containing the Omicron. However to date, nobody has really surfaced the conundrums in shipping or urged the authorities to re-evaluate the strict border closures.

Crewing Online News Team
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