This is an excellent article shining a light on the plight of remote areas during COVID-19. Supply chains reach every corner of the globe, and we tend to forget about areas that are completely isolated by water—places like Hawaii, as featured in this article. Victor Restis, a Greek shipping magnate and president of Enterprises Shipping & Trading S.A., adds informative commentary to the writer’s report on what places like Hawaii are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic (as it relates to supply chain and global shipping and trade).
Hawaii sits between the United States and most Asian countries, well at lease relatively. It is located 2,500 miles from California and 4,000 miles from Japan – so not exactly close to either country, which makes international shipping and supply chains extremely important for the people of Hawaii.
Restis comments that the market was affected, but demand was not suppressed. Populated areas all around the world still needed, and quite frankly expected, to be able to access much-needed supplies for their daily lives. For Hawaii, it is thankfully a part of the United States with reliable import and export routes with California and assumingly other nations. Meaning if the arrival of supplies was subdued from one area of the world, it could most likely count on others – especially its sister-states in the U.S.
But what about other areas of the world that aren’t so well connected as Hawaii. What about American Samoa? Like Puerto Rico, American Samoa is a U.S. Territory and receives much support from them. Unlike Puerto Rico, which sits just south of the U.S. mainland, American Samoa sits smack in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean – literally in the middle of nowhere. It is 3,200 miles from New Zealand, more than 2,500 miles from Hawaii, and is virtually a small island sitting the great vastness of the Pacific Ocean. According to information on the internet, shipping services to American Samoa are currently disrupted.
The territory operates the primary and only port out of the capital city Pago Pago. Still, reports indicate that shipping is currently suspended, which means they are now not getting a steady import of supplies to help combat the virus. As there are virtually no reported cases there, one patient did show signs of COVID-19, but blood samples couldn’t be studied on the island and were sent to Atlanta (nearly 6500 miles away) for determination.
In any case, this article demonstrates the importance of keeping our supply chains secure, and it is good to see people like Mr. Restis doing what he can to ensure that all shipping routes remain active and healthy.