Disruption of supply chains vs. virus outbreak: what’s more dangerous?

Philippines Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) has lifted 14-day quarantine period of all cargo ships coming from China, Macau and Hong Kong SAR, which was implemented by BOQ several days earlier. The BoQ lifted the ban after Philippines Ports Authorities (PPA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) made an appeal, citing serious disruption in the supply chain.
Planned 14-day quarantine of all cargo ships arriving from China, Macau and Hong Kong, has become known on Feb 5, leaving all concerned, from ship owners to shippers, from logistic companies to retailers and supermarkets, in a state of shock and frustration. Such a ban should inevitably throw the nation’s economy into an abyss of economy crisis, of lifelines total disruption, and finally, chaos.

Here’s the thing – a red line between epidemic preventive policy and sustaining supply chains, a balance which has to be finely tuned, not hacked with an ax. Crossing the red line with unnecessary stringent quarantine may lead to much more negative, disruptive results, if such quarantine destroys or disrupts lifelines of the whole nation.
Stringent quarantine is the last line of defence, to be implemented only if virus mortality rate is an existential threat, no less. In our modern world with most of population living in urban areas, disruption of supply chains is more dangerous, than most of known virus epidemics, coronavirus so far, being no exception.



My name is Mikhail Voytenko, I’m Russian, professional merchant marine navigator, by education and former experience. I own and run Maritime Bulletin website for more than 10 years. I've been involved in solving a number of piracy hijack cases, including the hijack of ro-ro FAINA, loaded with tanks. It was me who made public, and unravel, freighter ARCTIC SEA mystery. I've been also closely involved in a number of maritime disaster, one of them being MSC FLAMINIA major fire.