Over the weekend a number of news outlets reported on Fidelity’s (the US asset manager) increasing concern over supply chain disruption because of sailors stranded at sea during the pandemic. Believe it or not, they are not classified as essential workers.
Jenn-Hui Tan, global head of stewardship and sustainable investing at Fidelity and his team contacted 30 logistics companies (airlines, ship owners and charter ships) to raise concerns about these sailors, calling for them to be classified as essential workers and allowing them to disembark and return home.
Health and safety for these workers is critical if we are to preserve the stability within the supply chain. Mr Tan said, ‘seafarers provide an essential service. Our food, energy, so much of our trade we would not have without them.’
The international Transport Workers Federation estimate that there are 300,000 seafarers trapped on vessels and a larger number on land who would normally be rotating with those stranded. Those on vessels are dealing with fatigue and potential health issues and those at home are unable to earn.
Mr Tan went on to highlight the logistical issue of repatriating these seafarers with airline flight reductions, calling on governments to institute a multi-lateral approach to the pandemic.
For those companies (and quite frankly governments too) reliant on a thriving export market, the global supply chain and its complex logistics is critical and this is a crisis that cannot be ignored.