How Corona virus (COVID-19) Pandemic affects global shipping in Nigeria

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How Coronavirus (COVID-19)  Pandemic affects global shipping in Nigeria

coronavirus in Nigeria

Coronavirus is no more breaking news on media. Everyone from little children has been informed and knows the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on lives in all the countries of the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), explains the pandemic as an infectious disease caused by a newly severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). According to the World Health Organization, there are no available vaccines and no specific antiviral treatments for COVID-19.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.  Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

What are the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)

  1. Dry cough.
  2. Tiredness.
  3. Aches and pains.
  4. Headache.
  5. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
  6. Sore throat.

Prevention from Coronavirus

  1. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub.
  2. Maintain at least 1-meter social distance between you and people
  3. Avoid touching your face, nose, and mouth
  4. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  5. Stay home if you feel unwell.
  6. Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.
  7. Use preventive face mask and glove with relating with people

How Coronavirus started in China

The flu broke out on 31 December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei Province. It has a population of about 11 million people. On 1st of January 2020, the US centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified a seafood market in Wuhan as the suspected hub of the outbreak. The market was closed because of the outbreak.

On the 11th of January 2020, the first death was reported of a 61-year-old man who died from the virus in Wuhan, China. During this day, the number of people infected with the virus was 41.  On 13 January 2020, Coronavirus spread beyond China with Thailand reporting the first case of a Chinese woman who returned from Wuhan and was diagnosed with flu-like symptoms. Later, Japan recorded its first case on 15 January 2020.

From January to May 2020, there has been over 3,557, 235 confirmed cases, 245, 150 confirmed death in 215 countries. This pandemic has caused many countries to be on lockdown for weeks. Many countries economies have been affected negatively because there are no economic activities for weeks.


Coronavirus (Covid-19) reports in Nigeria


On 29th of February, 2020 Nigeria Center for Diseases Control (NCDC) reported  the first  confirmed case of coronavirus. According to NCDC: “a 44-year old Italian citizen was diagnosed of COVID-19 in Lagos State. The case is the first to be reported in Nigeria since the first confirmed case was reported from China in January 2020. The case arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at 10 pm on 24th February 2020 aboard Turkish airline from Milan, Italy. He traveled on to his company site in Ogun state on 25th February. On 26th February, he presented at the staff clinic in Ogun and there was high index of suspicion by the managing physician. He was referred to IDH Lagos and COVID-19 was confirmed on 27th February.”

Nigeria has recorded over 3526 cases, 107 death tolls and over 600 discharged cases. Nigeria's government ordered lockdown in Lagos state, Abuja (FCT), and Ogun state for 4 weeks. The lockdown ran through from 29th of March 2020 and partial lockdown introduced on 4th of May 2020.

How Coronavirus (COVID-19) affects global shipping in Nigeria

In this article, I will focus on effect COVID-19 pandemic on global shipping and supply chain in Nigeria. The following were the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on global shipping in Nigeria.


  1. Air shipping total lockdown
  2. Shipping Companies demurrage
  3. Shortage of supply of essential and general goods
  4. Restriction to financial supports
  5. Shortage of Human resources


Air Shipping Total Lockdown


During the lockdown period, there were restrictions on passengers and cargo flights. All the busy airports in Abuja and Lagos were lockdown. Many importers in Nigeria could not ship their goods from any country to Nigeria because of this restriction. Many flight schedules were cancelled during this period.


Shipping Companies demurrage


Nigeria government did not ban sea port activities during this 4 weeks lockdown. Most shipping companies were berthing containers at Apapa (APMT) and Tincan Island (TICT). The Nigeria Ports Authority gave instructions that the shipping and terminal operators should suspend demurrage charges on all imported goods (Containers)n within a stipulated time. Though, some shipping lines ignored the directives and include the extra charges in the entire debt notes issued for importers. There have been discrepancies with shipping extra charges and terminal charges to most importers. This will affect the market price of any goods most of these importers ship or it may cause them to run at loss in their businesses.


Shortage of supply of essential and general goods


Many goods and items were scared in the market. The demand of such items was higher than the available in the market. Many seller inflated the prices of some items like Pharmaceutical, Foods item and medical protective items( face mask, hand sanitizers, gloves).


Restriction to financial supports


Although, many commercial banks in Nigeria introduced online and digital platforms, that can be used to perform payment transactions. Still many importers were faced with different difficulties in receiving and sending payments.  These restrictions affected global shipping in Nigeria.


Shortage of Human resources


Covid-19 pandemic made the Nigeria government force restrictions of human and vehicle movements in Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun state. Many workers that would have to facilitate shipping processes and documentation were not allowed to move from their homes to their places of work. There has been a total shutdown of economic activities that are directly or indirectly related to global shipping whether air cargo or sea shipping in Nigeria.


In conclusion, as a freight forwarding industry is facing with the restrictions posed by lockdown due to global COVID-19 pandemic, many associations (FIATA, IATA, WCA, and others)  have put in place measures that will normalize the negative effect on global supply chains.

Distinctcushy Freight is working on the best ways to serve our importers and exporters. We have been negotiating with leading airlines and shipping lines in order to give our client competitive charges in terms of shipping charges.

Follow Michael Adewale:

International Freight Forwarder, Shipping Consultant and Customs Clearing Agent

He is Chief Executive Officer at Distinctcushy Global Freight Forwarding Company Limited, an International Freight forwarding company and Customs Clearing Broker in Lagos, Nigeria. He loves integrity and value honesty with importers and Exporters in Nigeria and abroad.

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