Global supply chains might collapse unless governments around the globe restore freedom of movement for transport workers, giving them priority over vaccines, the Financial Times (FT) reported, citing a coalition of international business leaders.
The International Chamber of Shipping and other groups said in an open letter to heads of state and government attending the United Nations General Assembly that the almost two-year travel ban has had a massively destructive effect on transport workers, the report stated.
They said there has been a mistreatment of workers and that the failure to act would make shortages of essential goods, like electronics, food, fuel and medical supplies, worse before Christmas this year, according to the report.
The transport organizations represent around 65 million workers. They’ve said governments have failed to listen, and that there is a need for “decisive and coordinated action” to resolve the crisis, the report stated.
The U.K. government has moved to send soldiers to deliver petrol, with Britain’s decision to leave the European Union along with the pandemic leading to a truck driver shortage, according to the report. There’s also a truck driver shortage globally, with the American Trucking Association reporting a shortfall of nearly 61,000 drivers in the U.S.
The pandemic border restrictions, along with distancing requirements and factory closures, have contributed to supply chain disasters, the report stated. There have been various effects because of it, including congestion at ports, delivery slow-downs and increasing freight rates on shipping routes between China, the U.S. and Europe.
In other news, officials from the U.S. and EU met Wednesday (Sept. 29) to forge a unified stance on new tech, trade and investment ties.
The entities were scheduled to look into issues like data governance and technical standards, seeking common ground on export controls, securing supply chains and regulating emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI).