Have you heard about the coronavirus? By now it must certainly sound more than familiar to you.
You have probably read thousands of items related to COVID-19: about where the outbreak took place, which parts of the world are most affected, even what precautions to take to avoid being exposed to this virus…
A lot of information has been published worldwide. Indeed, this disease has no boundaries, nor is just local its economic impact.
Our globalized world has led to a fragile economic balance. As in the butterfly effect, small perturbations in one region can have far reaching effects. So, when the coronavirus jumped the species barrier to humans, this triggered a chain of events all over the world. While the coronavirus spreads, stock markets fall, factories close, villages stay under quarantine… Innumerable sectors are feeling the consequences and one of them is the overseas business.
For us bananas, one of our key means of transportation is starting to deploy measures to address potential negative effects.
Which mode of transport is this?
The maritime containers.
We, bananas, cross the high seas for weeks to reach your supermarket trolley. And how can we keep fresh while we traverse the oceans? Only by using reefers, in other words, refrigerated containers.
Our journey involves a lot of technology that large shipping companies supply
They provide us the best travelling conditions to stay fresh (temperature, humidity, ventilation, …). Our journey involves a lot of technology that large shipping companies supply. But the coronavirus has interfered with this supply chain.
The shipping industry is one of the latest sectors affected by COVID-19. As we can see from their webpages (click on: Maersk, MSC, COSCO, Hapag-Lloyd), coronavirus has had an impact on the number of available reefer plugs. Never before had their China-related business been so negatively impacted.
Moreover, according to the UN (in their Review of Maritime Transport 2019):
“China is a key player in dry bulk and containerized trade, accounting for nearly half of global maritime trade growth in the past decade. In 2018, maritime imports from China were estimated at one fourth of maritime trade worldwide. In this context, the outlook for such trade is highly dependent on developments in the Chinese economy”.
Even the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have issued a joint statement on the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, calling for the collaboration of all parties involved in maritime transport.
We hope that every effort will be made promptly and will yield positive results.
Work is being done, so we can keep calm :-).
Based on cargo carrying capacity, these are the 5 largest shipping companies:
1st APM-Maersk from Denmark
2nd MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) from Switzerland
3rd COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Company) from China
4th CMA-CGM from France
5th Hapag-Lloyd from Germany