While most South Africans are required to stay indoors during the ongoing 21-day lockdown to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, fishermen and dock-workers are still on the job. Both the seafood industry and the country’s ports were deemed vital to the national economy and permitted to stay open — in part because of the need to maintain the limited trade flows still going on with China.
China’s Ties to SA Fishing and Port Industries
- FISHING: With 90% of South Africa’s rock lobster trade still going to China, commercial and small-scale fishing companies successfully persuaded Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy that it was essential to the economy that the industry remains operational during the lockdown. (SEAFOOD SOURCE)
- PORTS: The Department of Transport clarified on Tuesday that South Africa’s remain open during the lockdown. Mining companies, including those from Zambia and DRC, appealed for an exemption to avoid shutting down. The timing’s critical now that Chinese manufacturing appears to be coming back online and the demand for southern African minerals that flow through these ports is expected to go up. (REUTERS)
IN OTHER SHIPPING NEWS… traffic through the Suez Canal, one of the world’s main Asia-Europe passages, remained surprisingly robust in the first quarter of the year. Despite the near-total shutdown in international trade due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the number of ships that passed through the canal in Q1 increased by 8.4% compared to the same time last year. (ARAB NEWS)
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