MANILA - A maritime industry stakeholder is calling on the Philippine government to also prioritize seafarers as in the country's COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Tore Henriksen, president of Doehle Shipmanagement Philippines, stressed in an ANC interview Wednesday that Filipino seafarers must be given key worker status and moved "to the top of priority in vaccines in order to do their jobs."
The Department of Transportation earlier recognized Filipino seafarers' contribution to world trade amid the COVID-19 crisis.
"Seafarers need to be vaccinated... We are down to 9th-10th in priority [list] in the Philippines. We hope that the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19] will see to it," said Henriksen, who is also the Maritime Committee chairman of German, Dutch and Nordic Chambers of Commerce.
He said 2021 will be a positive year for container shipping, as bigger economies such as the US and Europe are seen to have stronger demand for products manufactured in Asia, such as bigger TV screens and other electronics.
Bulk shipping of coal, ore, steel, and other commodities is also set for a good run this year, as strained trade relations between China and Australia will translate to more coal transport to and from other countries.
"China will get coal elsewhere, that would mean longer transports. Likewise, Australia will find other countries for their coal exports," Henriksen said.