By Sara Baade, CEO - Sailors’ Society
We call them “the invisible workforce”: unnoticed by the billions of people who benefit from their labour. But when the Suez Canal became blocked, seafarers and the crucial contribution they make to the global economy were suddenly thrust into the spotlight.
During the six days that the ill-fated Ever Given container vessel was wedged across the canal – one of the world’s busiest trade routes between Europe, Asia and the Middle East – some $9.6 billion worth of trade was prevented from taking place per day, according to Lloyd’s List. On 28 March, just before the ship was finally freed, at least 369 ships were queuing to pass through the canal.
With the maritime industry accounting for more than 90 per cent of world trade, it’s no surprise that the ripple effect of the blockage on supply chains was predicted to last for months.
The coronavirus pandemic had already placed considerable strain on shipping, but the industry has val...