COVID-19 has taught society that we need to ensure the strength and sustainability of the global supply chain. For the most part, supply chains held up fine during the early days of the pandemic. Most issues that were noticed by the general public were in manufacturing and hoarding, and not so much the transport of goods. Victor Restis, a Greek shipping executive and president of Enterprises Shipping & Trade, provides interesting insights into what took place within the shipping and trade industry when the pandemic change our lives.
The article supports ideas that Mr. Restis thinks would be beneficial. For example, world leaders are likely re-thinking global trade strategies. Perhaps a part of this is considering bringing more manufacturing jobs within country borders so that there is less dependence on essential items. I think this is a needed step forward and hopefully future American leadership will also see this as a necessity. For critical, life-saving items (including drug manufacturing), each country should have an internal system of manufacturing these items and no rely on the global trade system and its politics.
It is scary to consider that a tiny group of countries manufacture a majority of the essential products we use daily, especially medicines, and I think that is way too much power to hold over millions of people.
The other benefit of pulling more manufacturing jobs in-house that Restis mentions in this article is a boon to a country’s economy. Manufacturing creates jobs! Thousands of them, in fact, and it feeds other industries and helps local economies as well. Think about all the ancillary jobs and collateral economies that would benefit if large scale manufacturing were introduced into some of the world’s lower socio-economic countries.
Of course, there are unique exports from each country that are beneficial to use as trade with other countries, and this should be maintained. The article, for example, points out ventilators and N95 masks that were in very short supply in the early days of the pandemic. During the COVID struggle, U.S. companies shifted production focus away from core products and helped in manufacturing much needed medical supplies. General Motors and Ford jumped in to not only help the American population but produced enough amounts of supplies to ship to other countries that were in dire need. This was one example of humanity pulling together out of care and kindness for one another. We need more of this!