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COVID-19 effects on South Africa's Maritime Economy

South Africa’s Maritime Economy also get impact due to the COVID-19. The lockdown becomes the major cause of its fall, especially on global shipping.

The demand for global shipping drops mainly from the China market. These drops present an impact on the various markets, from container ships to oil tankers. This issue brings a drop in oil prices and shares the negative effect for both the offshore and onshore oil and gas industry.

COVID-19 effects on South Africa's Maritime Economy

COVID-19 effects on South Africa’s Maritime Economy

  • South Africa responds to COVID-19.

South Africa is one of the nations that take lockdown as one of their policies. The government announced a 21 days lockdown that starts on March 27 and continues at the end of April.

This closure responds to many aspects, including South Africa’s Maritime Economy. The lockdown blocks cruise ships docking as well as crew changes on South Africa’s seaports. Of course, tourism became the first place that fell under this restriction.

Although all of the nation’s seaports remain open, global shipping markets should follow COVID-19 protocols. If there are goods that come in, especially from high-risk countries, it should be sanitized first. This protocol made the seaports’ terminal adjust their services and operations.

Moreover, they should lessen the transportation of nonessential cargo and solely handle important break bulk containers and goods. The policy includes the closing of seaport terminals at Port Elizabeth, Saldanha, East London, and Maydon Wharf in Durban.

The lockdown brings the shipping market demand to fall at South Africa port. The distribution, including warehousing activities, are changing. The port operation is estimated at around 60 percent volume during the lockdown period.

COVID-19 causes the on-demand market decline. It presents us with South Africa’s economic growth increasing 1 percent in 2021 and 1.6 percent in 2022.

This pandemic brings a wide effect on South Africa’s Maritime Economy. The reason is because China is the biggest trading partner for South Africa. So, the nation is presented to any disturbance in export and import activities from China.

COVID-19 effects on South Africa's Maritime Economy

COVID-19 effects on South Africa’s Maritime Economy

  • Sector and policy response. 

As this pandemic shares a global impact, it requires a global response to find the solution. So far, the global public health gives a strong outcome to COVID-19 led by each respective government.

The South Africa government tries multiple ways to lessen the economic impact. They take decisions in various fiscal and monetary policy measures.

This policy includes increasing liquidity in the domestic market. So, it helps to stimulate credit demand. Besides, it can improve fiscal reprioritization to social security measures.

Meanwhile, from the sector perspective, the main concern is the restriction on crew changes at seaports. The government should make sector representation to ease this restriction. Yet, the government should coordinate the representation to avoid overlapping or duplication.

Any decision on it may bounce back due to social distancing and social interaction limitations. It will not affect the seafarer crew members stranded at sea or onshore. It should consider the crew members who are at work to give them time to return home.

Africa's Maritime Industry and Sustainability

Africa’s Maritime Industry is crucial for global sea lanes. The routes help to transport goods for all imports and exports in Africa. It became one of the world’s biggest shipping industries.

Africa’s improvement in the maritime industry bears positive impacts, especially on its socio-economic development. This impact is beneficial, particularly on coastal states. Yet, it also causes a challenge for the maritime sector.

The following article informs us about how to maintain environmental and social sustainability practices for the Maritime Industry.

Africa's Maritime Industry and Sustainability

Africa’s Maritime Industry and Sustainability

  • Green Shipping.

Green shipping is made to lessen various negative impacts, particularly on human health and the environment. This method can decrease the use of preservation and helps to protect the environment from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including other pollutants.

In the usage, the “green” criterion involves the agreement to major International Maritime Organization (IMO) pollution-related organizations. Moreover, their protocols have been ratified by many coastal African countries.

The IMO has a strong commitment to sustainable improvement for Africa’s Maritime Industry. It is created to support modernization and technology transfer.

Over the past years, there is an increase in many forward-thinking companies designing eco-friendly ships. They use this kind of boat to be part of their operation.

  • Marine Pollution.

Marine Pollution is one of the crucial issues in global environmental challenges. This issue will be faced by many generations ahead as 75 percent of the earth is covered by water.

Nowadays, shipping becomes the majority of the world’s business transportation. So, the increasing level of marine pollution is unavoidable.

The shipping industry is known for its performance in environmental and social protection. It presents a great effort in preventing and responding to oil spills because those things are a visible impact on marine pollution.

Africa's Maritime Industry and Sustainability

Africa’s Maritime Industry and Sustainability

  • Atmospheric Emission.

The pollution carried by the shipping industry is not merely marine pollution. The fuels used by the boat is also one of the major causes of atmospheric pollution.

The fuel produces carbon dioxide (CO2) as well as other gas emissions and is released into the air freely. This gas contributes almost 1 billion tons of CO2 yearly.

By the increase of shipping in Africa’s Maritime Industry, it will increase the consumption of fuel. The air emissions carried by shipping remain to grow significantly.

However, IMO creates a strategy to lessen the atmospheric emission. All ships are required to have an implementing mandatory action for effective implementation. Its short term strategy includes the expansion of technical plus operational energy that can bring efficiency standards for ships.

Then, it presents the national action plan to support the reduction of GHG emissions. We can see now ships with renewable energy supplies, including the infrastructure support in the low-carbon fuels.

This plan makes the shipping companies adopt new technology. So, all new ships should produce GHG emissions to support 30 percent emission reduction for 2025.

Maritime Issues On Shipping

The sea plays an important role, especially in trade and communication. Most of the world’s trade is conducted by sea. Besides, for telecommunications, there are submarine cables that will transmit most of the communication data for people all around the world.

The importance of the sea is in line with the maritime issues it has. Let’s say maritime smuggling of ivory, drugs, or antiquities is conducted by criminal networks which then funds terrorists.

Maritime Issues On Shipping

Maritime Issues On Shipping

The Definition of Maritime Security

Maritime security is a term to classify issues that countries found in the maritime domain. It is related to the marine environment, national security, and also human security. In general, their subject is the world’s oceans. Yet, to make it more specific, they also concern for regional seas, rovers, territorial waters, and ports. The concept of this security is now not only talking about national power projection but also interconnected fields.

Though there was a conference on maritime security, especially African sea security, there is no exact definition of it. The term is then used for both international and regional challenges to maritime issues.

Some maritime issues that most countries experience include armed robbery, piracy, illicit goods, human-trafficking, marine pollution, and also illegal fishing.

From this description, we know then that a sea is a central place for maritime security. It has different roles including the source of threats like piracy, as a geopolitical power projection, as connectors between countries to reach globalization, and as military disputes.

Maritime Issues On Shipping

Maritime Issues On Shipping

Maritime Shipping Issues

Shipping is one thing that makes the sea important. The logistics of shipping and trading need the sea. And if problems occur, the chain of consumption will not be optimized. Efficiency in technology and chain optimization are two issues mostly faced by countries. Yet, the most important one is carbon fuels. Nowadays, the goal of worldwide shipping is how to reduce carbon emissions. Having carbon-neutral fuels is one of the answers. There is a strategy to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 by 50%.

Data theft and cyber attacks are other maritime issues that some countries may experience. Even this issue is included in top political risks that arise in recent years. The cyber threat that you find in the industry, including shipping, becomes an important issue from past years. The struggle is real since hackers are more sophisticated, while most people start to be dependent on several digital services.

Oversupply is one of the maritime issues that has been a problem in the shipping industry. It is because the demand from China, which is known as the world’s largest importer slows down. This of course will affect the market. And the ship’s owners sometimes have to hold the goods on their ships for some time, until the price is normal.

Seafarers Issues

Other roles like seafarers also face several difficulties, like hard to join the ship. This has something to do with the fast loading of the cargo. Thus, it results in the difficulties of the seafarers to get into the ship on time. Sometimes the seafarers have to wait for a long time because of the visa approval. Once the visa is processed, their ship is ready to sail.

Another seafarers issue is that the ship doesn’t have enough time to maintain the ships at ports. Seafarers may only have a short time to stay so that they cannot conduct the maintenance works on their ships. The issue is related to the ports.