Staff Shortage amid COVID-19 Causes Occupational Hazard to Maritime Stakeholders

Staff Shortage amid COVID-19 Causes Occupational Hazard to Maritime Stakeholders

Over the past two months and more, the world is engulfed with COVID-19 pandemic spread. While relief is expected to come around, every week we see the numbers multiplying exponentially in newer hotspots. Amidst this, maritime trade has been the first of all industries to fall back and it is reflecting in their numbers. Certain shipping lines have reported over 46 per cent loss in their bottom line due to lockdown and staff shortage.

Owing to rapid disease spread, governments directed a complete lockdown and setting up a remote working ecosystem to all industries. Unlikely, a major population of the maritime industry is not completely digitized to let them work from a remote ecosystem. Here are some common occupational hazards shipping lines face due to shortage of staff.

Document submission and processing

In order to make the freight moving from the exporter’s warehouse to the empty dock, there’s documentation work involved. Beginning from a bill of lading to delivery order, every document involves manual efforts for hours by the staff from shipping lines and forwarders. Due to staff shortage, submitting documents and obtaining approvals for the same has taken a backseat. Due to it, even the freight movement of essentials and medical supplies too are affected. Even though some of them are managing with few staff they have, it is not efficient enough to cope up with.

Freight movement

Transporters are the next big business community that’s affected due to lockdown. In several places, truckers went on a strike to allow them to take essentials to seaports and airports. After so many requests, finally, governments have relaxed and has given permission to truck movement both within and outside a specific region. Anyhow, so far due to delay in freight arrival at the respective ports, the movement has been badly hit. The countries which require essentials and medical supplies are running short of resources. Regularizing freight movement is very much essential at this point in time.

Critical equipment storage in CFS warehouses

Container Freight Stations as well see a major fall in their operations. While some of them handle cold-chain and hazardous particles in their warehouse, due to non-movement they could be subject to rotting. Otherwise, in case of hazardous particles, their reactions to being stored in a place for a longer period need to be seen. Due to staff shortage, there is no one to check the condition of these freight. Therefore, post lockdown period might account for more losses to the Container Freight Stations than before.

Lack of business continuity

Due to all these factors, shipping lines, freight forwarders, truckers and other maritime stakeholders are seeing lowering revenues. While some in specific countries say more than 50 per cent revenue loss, the numbers given by others are even more grim. Overall, if the freight movement doesn’t start-off at this moment, the yearly loss might be enormous for the maritime stakeholders. While they find ways to cope up with essentials and medical supply freight that won’t be enough to breakeven.

The root cause for all these problems are lack of digitisation. If all maritime stakeholders had taken digitisation seriously and implemented in their organisation, there will be no question of occupational hazard at this juncture. Employees can still operate from home with the utmost efficiency. Read something on the perks of using e-DO service specifically crafted for the maritime stakeholders.