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Reports, Positions and Papers

The Perfect Storm: The Impact of COVID-19 on Shipping, Seafarers and Maritime Labour Markets

April 2022 Free

The research featured in this report investigates macro and micro-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the shipping industry. More specifically, it assesses:

  • The economic and regulatory responses to the pandemic, particularly those enacted by national governments;
  • The impact of national public health policies, implemented to contain and mitigate COVID-19, on shipping labour markets and the supply chain; and
  • The effects of national policies on the international logistics network and the shipping industry, as well as on shipping’s longstanding commitment and contributions towards the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including in the context of global shipping employment.

The devastating impact of the pandemic was unforeseen, but its potential effects were not entirely unexpected and the shipping industry had highlighted these previously, including through submissions to UN fora, following the outbreaks on Ebola, Avian Flu and SARS.

This report highlights some key lessons learned which included:

  • Stronger, long-term cooperation between industry and governments is required to address the increasing challenges and changes to maritime trade and labour markets, whilst national economies navigate towards recovery;
  • Government-industry collaboration is essential to build back better;
  • Competent national government ministries and agencies should collaborate with intergovernmental organisations and liaise more closely with industry, to improve the treatment of seafarers in the event of travel restrictions; and
  • Unless meaningful changes are implemented, the same issues will re-emerge.

Findings and conclusions are outlined in the report, alongside a set of recommendations in the form of “calls to action” (CTAs).