AN ONLINE forum featuring figures from across the Australian maritime logistics and freight sectors has scrutinised how industry will recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The online forum was held via Zoom and was organised by Australian Maritime Logistics Research Network in collaboration with RMIT Enabling Capability Platforms.

Speakers included:

  • Teresa Lloyd – MIAL
  • Dave Coughlin – Mainfreight – Tullamarine
  • Zoran Kostadinoski – International Forwarders and Customs Brokers Association of Australia (IFCBAA)
  • Vlad Jotic – Port of Melbourne
  • Assoc. Prof. Vinh Thai, RMIT University

The session was moderated by Professor Shams Rahman at RMIT.

Teresa Lloyd told the gathering that shipping still was “in the thick of the pandemic” and for many seafarers the situation has become “untenable”.

She also warned the sector could expect to start seeing virus cases on board ships, whereas it has been to date mostly confined to the cruise sector.

“I don’t think we have seen the worst,” Ms Lloyd told the gathering.

IFCBAA’s Zoran Kostadinoski talked about how the pandemic had impacted demand for goods as well as supply in “a unique situation” with a “lack of predictability”.

He noted consumers had, fortunately, become more aware of the importance of supply chains, something that had long been taken for granted.

Vlad Jotic from Port of Melbourne outlined an increase in vessel “blankings”.

“We are seeing COVID-related vessel cancellations,” he said, while noting exports had remained strong, with strong demand for Australian beef and potential for an excellent grain season ahead.

Dave Coughlin from Mainfreight also noted changes in demand with “many weeks bigger than Christmas” at the start of the pandemic.

More coverage of the forum will be included in the August print edition of Daily Cargo News.