Seaports, which are a lifeline for economies large and small, have been hit hard by the disruptions from COVID-19. Using smart technologies will help them bounce back and could usher in a new era of equitable economic growth. More than 11 billion tonnes of goods were transported by sea in 2019.
This was equivalent to over 80% of world trade, and maritime freight transport is expected to increase in the coming years. Ports facilitate economic connectivity and growth, especially for island countries. This is how goods are transported cost effectively to and from the rest of the world; and goods that are not available in the country become accessible to its people and businesses.
Ports are a lifeline for an island economy. All the more so during a disaster triggered by a natural hazard or a pandemic, when access to essential goods can save lives. Under normal circumstances, when a cargo ship arrives at its destination port, containers and other cargo are unloaded, logistics companies move them to their warehouses outside the port and through distribution channels as quickly as possible.
A version of this article appears in the March 3, 2021 print of The Himalayan Times.