In an open letter the two organizations representing the global shipping industry and the world's ports and harbours stated that:
In this time of global crisis, it is more important than ever to keep supply chains open and maritime trade and transport moving. Leadership from the G20 in calling for a co-ordinated approach by governments, working in conjunction with the UN International Maritime Organization, WHO, and other relevant agencies is therefore of the utmost importance
What is more, the letter highlighted that about 90% of global trade is transported by commercial shipping, which moves the world’s food, energy and raw materials, as well as manufactured goods and components, "without which modern society simply cannot function."
The joint letter has been sent to G20 government leaders and UN bodies ahead of their extraordinary G20 summit on Tuesday, 24 June 2020.
As for Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, he stressed that:
Shipping is the lifeblood of the world. Without the efficient and safe transportation of food, medical supplies, raw materials and fuel, countries could face an even more difficult situation than the one we are all facing. We need nations, led by the G20, to work together to provide coordinated rather than knee-jerk restrictions to protect us all from COVID-19
Mr Platten also gave emphasis on the need for pragmatic, science-based and harmonised guidance for the global maritime sector. He explained that this would ensure the safe delivery of the goods.”
In addition, for his side, Patrick Verhoeven, Managing Director of the International Association of Ports and Harbors added:
Whilst the primary objective of protecting public health should not be jeopardised in any way, ports must remain fully operational with all their regular services in place, guaranteeing complete functionality of supply chain
Governments should also support shipping, ports and transport operators, Mr. Verhoeven said, in order to do everything possible to allow transport of goods in and out of ports so that food, medicine and other vital supplies will continue to reach people worldwide.