The global pandemic showed the world our current processes in many industries need to be reevaluated. Our international shipping and trade industry are among them. The industry needs to maximize the strength, sustainability, and viability of global supply chains to survive future pandemics. Victor Restis, a Greek shipping executive and president of Enterprises Shipping & Trade, provides beneficial insights that discuss the new paths forward within the international shipping and trade industry.
We learned from COVID-19, among many things, that, for the most part, global supply chains remained strong. Issues that consumers experienced were product availability and not the ecosystem that delivers those products. Interestingly, there are only a small number of countries responsible for manufacturing a large number of essential product populations around the world rely on daily. This is ultimately way too much power for any country to have over the world’s access to products such as medicines, prescriptions, or even food. The need to diversify this ecosystem should be through and through.
Mr. Restis, and other industry leaders, expect a short-term shift from world leaders to re-think global trade strategies. The United States is already looking to shift large manufacturing jobs away from foreign countries and back within its borders. For critical, lifesaving items (including prescription medication manufacturing), every country should have a domestic manufacturing plan and distribute these items. These are too important to rely on global trade systems and their politics. There should never be a backorder of lifesaving and life-managing medications.
Diversification ensures domestic safety for each country and positions governments to trade with other nations. Also, bringing in manufacturing jobs will boost local economies and help build a more robust working-class system. Necessary items are required for sustaining life and ensuring survival needs to be manufactured domestically. For example, the article points out ventilators and N95 masks that were in very short supply in the early days of the pandemic.
American companies answered the call of COVID-19 and dedicated a large portion of their manufacturing away from core products and helped manufacture much needed medical supplies such as ventilators and other medical supplies. US companies like General Motors and Ford sprang into action to help the American and the rest of the world. This was one shining and essential example of humanity pulling the resources of capitalism out of care and kindness for one another.