India’s huge wave of Covid-19 infections has hit the international shipping industry, which relies on the country for seafarers, as crews come down with the disease and ports deny entry to vessels.
“If the travel restrictions continue as they are, we could once again be in a similar situation to the global crew change crisis that we saw in 2020,” said Niels Bruus, head of marine human resources at Maersk, the world’s
Along with the Philippines and China, India is one of the world’s largest sources of sea crew. About 240,000 of an estimated 1.6m seafarers globally are from the country, according to International Chamber of Shipping, an industry body
Singapore, a big shipping hub, has widened its ban to cover crew from countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Executives warned the restrictions could send shockwaves through the stretched shipping industry, which transports 80 per cent of global trade, according to UN data.
Yet one more dramatic outcome from risk that was unpredicted at the beginning of 2020. Countries congratulating themselves n vaccinations rates and coming out of lockdowns do not live in a secluded world. Supply chains are global, a mix of just-in-time fulfilment by air and truck and longer lead-time fulfilment by sea.
First the Suez Canal was blocked for six days by the grounding of the giant Ever Given container ship delaying shipments of goods. The Egyptian Courts ejected an appeal by the owners to release the vessel whilst the Suez Canal Authority claims $916m compensation according to the Ever Given's insurer.
Then the tragedy of Covid infections and deaths in India hits the shipping industry, global supply chains and, commerce and business.
Underwriting risk in such turbulent time becomes ever harder and the data to do so ever more valuable. Rising premiums, scarce capacity and a demand for cover all add to a volatile mix. Shockwaves like this are a catalyst to change, transformation and disruption.
Insurers, reinsurers, brokers and customers are at the heart of this maelstrom as Business Interruption occurs with such impact.
March’s Suez Canal blockage “will be nothing compared to the [supply chain] disruption coming from being unable to change crews”, said Mark O’Neil, president of InterManager, which represents the crew management industry.