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World - ECLAC Outlines Impacts of Covid Pandemic on Latin American Ocean Shipping

The Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean (ECLAC) in their July report “The effects of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on international trade and logistics” outlined the myriad impacts that the pandemic induced recession has had on Latin America’s supply chain.

The pandemic’s economic impact [see article on page 2] was widespread in the LAC region. In some countries, the demand for primary commodity exports all but dried up as manufacturing in China and other parts of Asia, Europe and US slowed to a crawl. Equally, imports to the region fell off as the money tightened in the region. Perhaps less talked about was the damage that the complete shutdown of the tourist sector had on the LAC. The report noted, “The situation [“paralysis of tourism”] is particularly worrying to Caribbean countries, where tourism accounted for 45% of the total exports of goods and services in 2019. In this context, the value of Caribbean exports of goods and services is expected to fall by 40% in 2020.”

With a badly damaged tourism industry undercutting economic performance in the Caribbean imports and exports to the region are similarly impacted.

Latin American Seaports

Latin America’s seaports, like virtually all seaports, were impacted by a drop in seaborne traffic. Although the report suggests there was a -6.1% year-on-year change January-May 2020 compared to 2019 % in containerized traffic, the volumes at the region’s main boxports were only marginally off (-1%). ECLAC surmises the “difference between the two figures is explained by the fact that other operational and trans-shipment movements offset the drop in containerized international trade.”

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