By Jonathan Saul and Elisa Anzolin
LONDON/MILAN, March 24 (Reuters) – Ships and their crews must be able to trade freely with minimal port restrictions to ensure supply lines don’t freeze up while the coronavirus shuts down much of the globe, shipping and port officials said on Tuesday.
After draconian steps to stop the spread of the virus, China’s economy is slowly coming back online but logistics chains are backing up in other parts of the world.
This has been compounded by ships being quarantined for up to two weeks and seafarers held up as countries impose lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) association, which represents more than 80% of the global merchant fleet, and the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) jointly called on the Group of 20 major economies to allow merchant shipping to keep flowing.
“Ensuring that seafarers