Supply chain trade groups warn of 'system collapse' if governments don't step in

Supply chain industry trade groups warned of a "global transport system collapse" if governments don't restore freedom of movement to transport workers in an open letter sent Sept. 29 to heads of state attending the United Nations General Assembly. 

The International Chamber of Shipping, along with other supply industry trade groups, wrote in the letter that "Global supply chains are beginning to buckle as two years' worth of strain on transport workers take their toll."

The groups are asking heads of government to bring an end to fragmented travel rules and restrictions they say have severely affected the global supply chain and put the international transport workforce at risk. They're also asking for transport workers to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines. 

"The global supply chain is very fragile and depends as much on a seafarer [from the Philippines] as it does on a truck driver to deliver goods," Stephen Cotton, secretary general of the International Transport Workers' Federation, told CNN. "The time has come for heads of government to respond to these workers' needs."

The letter was signed by the International Chamber of Shipping, the International Air Transport Association, the International Road Transport Union and the International Transport Workers' Federation. The organizations represent 65 million transport workers globally, and their collective industries account for more than $20 trillion of world trade annually. 

"We are witnessing unprecedented disruptions and global delays and shortages on essential goods, including electronics, food, fuel and medical supplies. Consumer demand is rising, and the delays look set to worsen ahead of Christmas and continue into 2022," the groups said in the letter. 

Read the full letter here


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