Transport Groups Pen Letter Urging UN Action Before Supply Chain System Collapses

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Some of the world’s biggest shipping and transport organizations want the United Nations to intercede in the supply chain crisis, warning that a failure of governments to act could lead to the collapse of the global transport system.

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In an open letter sent this week to the World Health Organization and Internal Labor Organization, groups representing 65 million global transport workers said governments around the world are failing transport workers, the American Shipper website reported.

The letter was signed by the International Road Transport Union, the International Air Transport Association, the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Transport Workers’ Federation. Combined, these organizations represent about 3.5 million freight and airport companies, more than 80% of the world’s merchant shipping fleet and over $20 trillion of the world’s annual trade.

Among their requests: That the WHO and ILO discuss the humanitarian crisis at the U.N. General Assembly, and that the heads of government take “swift action” to lift fragmented travel rules and provide COVID-19 vaccinations to the manufacturing and logistics workforces. The letter also advocates creating a globally recognized vaccination certificate so workers can cross international borders.

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The letter comes as the world’s seafarers, truck drivers and airline workers approach a breaking point after having to endure quarantines, travel restrictions and complicated COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements to keep the supply chain moving during the pandemic, CNN reported.

“In view of the vital role that transport workers have played during the pandemic and continue to play during the ongoing supply chain crisis, we request, as a matter of urgency, a meeting with WHO and the ILO at the highest level to identify solutions before global transport systems collapse,” the letter said. “We also ask that WHO and the ILO raise this at the U.N. General Assembly and call on heads of government to take meaningful and swift action to resolve this crisis now.”

All of the world’s transport sectors are suffering from a shortage of workers, the letter added, “and expect more to leave as a result of the poor treatment millions have faced during the pandemic, putting the supply chain under greater threat.”

As GOBankingRates reported earlier this week, the supply chain crisis has contributed to escalating inflation in the United States — so much so that corporate heavyweights like Nike, Costco, FedEx, UPS and General Mills have warned that unless continued supply chain problems could lead to even higher inflation as the holidays approach.

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Meanwhile, COVID-19 restrictions in Europe have affected thousands of truck drivers, forcing them to queue for days in sub-zero temperatures with no food or medical facilities.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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