The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) gave a collaborative statement issued on April 17th about trade by sea. Customs and ports are urged to continue the flow of essential goods and medical supplies during the COVID-9 pandemic.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya urged customs administrators and port state authorities. To establish a coordinated and proactive approach to maintaining the integrity of the global supply chain. So that the vital goods being transported by sea is not interrupted.
Ports are being closed and ships are being denied entry. As travel is restricted and borders closed to slow the spread of the disease. However, these interruptions are causing much-needed aid to not get in. It will have negative social and economic effects on the countries concerned.
“It is critical that customs administrations and port state authorities continue to facilitate the cross-border movement of vital medical supplies and equipment, critical agricultural products, and other goods, to minimize the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economies and societies.”
Both the IMO and WCO placed emphasis on the importance of communication, coordination, and cooperation at both national and local levels. Between ships, port facilities, customs administrations, and other competent authorities. There was a motion urging the customs and port administrations to work together and solve the disruptions to support the health and well-being of all people.
Both organizations have already issued guidance specifically on recommendations for the governments and relevant national authorities, proposed by a broad cross-section of global industry associations representing the maritime transportation sector. It included a specific call for governments. They want to specifically designate professional seafarers and marine personnel, as key workers providing an essential service.
The joint statement comes as the demand for and the movement of relief goods across borders is increasing dramatically.