SHIP agent Nigel Borthwick says the shipping industry will rebound from the challenges thrown at it by Covid-19.

Based in Melbourne, Mr Borthwick has been in the industry for close to three decades and his business is focused on the bulk trades including cement.

He does much of his work from home anyway, but a range of new conditions from the Victorian government, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWRS) and Australian Border Force have forced some changes to his business.

Namely the need to work “more remotely” and avoid the transfer of Covid-19 to and from ships and additional reporting requirements for DAWARS (quarantine) and the Australian Border Force.

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Mr Borthwick is realistic enough to know further impacts may be expected.

“I am reliant on the construction industry, if governments decide the construction industry needs to shut down then I think that will have an impact on our business,” he said.

“But government will be supporting infrastructure when we get to come back so I expect there will be a bit of a mad rush [when this is over].”

Mr Borthwick said he remains optimistic for the longer term.

“During the GFC I was with Inchcape in Melbourne and it was definitely quiet but it rebuilt from there.

“Our working arrangements [long term] may be very different, we may be working a lot more remotely,” he said.

“I think supply chains need to be a bit more robust and have more ‘options’. “Instead of relying upon China to be the powerhouse, we’ll look to manufacture goods [from a range of countries]. That’s something to think about.”

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