‘Global Transport System Collapse’ Upon Us, Warns ICS Letter

global supply chain collapse


If you’ve been to a grocery store recently, you probably aren’t shocked to learn that stress on the supply chain continues to cause complications. But now the situation may worsen, according to a letter written by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).

In the letter, the ICS warns of “global transport system collapse” if governments worldwide don’t ease up travel restrictions for their workers and prioritize these workers to receive vaccines. 

“Global supply chains are beginning to buckle as two years’ worth of strain on transport workers take their toll,” the authors of the letter state. International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Road Transport Union (IRU) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) all signed the letter as a show of unison over the issue. 

“All transport sectors are also seeing a shortage of workers, and expect more to leave as a result of the poor treatment millions have faced during the pandemic, putting the supply chain under greater threat,” it continued.

The situation is even worse for the seafarer industry looking at a potential worker shortage towards the end of the year. The problem is, many seafarers don’t trust that they’ll make it home for the holidays. The buzz of further lockdowns has many seafarers believing they could end up stuck at sea during major holidays. 

Such a supply collapse would put undue stress on food and fuel industries, particularly in the United Kingdom.

“The global supply chain is very fragile and depends as much on a seafarer [from the Philippines] as it does on a truck driver to deliver goods,” added Stephen Cotton, ITF secretary general. “The time has come for heads of government to respond to these workers’ needs.”

When seafarers leave for work, they can’t deboard unless they are returning home. This places many seafarers out to sea, in some cases, for over a year. In 2020, nearly half a million seafarers remained trapped on ships throughout the world. 

And then there is the case of vaccines. Again, because there are no standards, some seafarers have been given more than two doses of COVID-19 vaccines. According to one report, one seafarer was given six doses of the vaccine. 

Inconsistent COVID-19 testing protocols are another global obstacle that both seafarers and truckers must navigate. The situation is particularly bad in Europe, where trucking companies must deal with unique standards per individual country. These inconsistencies can be not only confusing but costly. 

“Drivers have faced hundreds of border issues and blockades through the pandemic,” said Umberto de Pretto, IRU secretary general. “Truck drivers, and the citizens and businesses that depend on the goods they move, pay a heavy price for misguided Covid restrictions that do not exempt transport workers,” Guy Platten, secretary general of the ICS, said.

While it certainly isn’t helpful to panic, its not a bad idea to make sure you have your prepper supplies in order. There’s no need to rush to a Costco and buy overly dramatic amounts of supplies. Rather, it’s always good practice to pick up a few extra items during planned trips to the store. 

Author: Jim Satney

PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.

Please visit the CDC website for the most up-to-date COVID-19 information.

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