A group of experts of the Hanoi-based National Economics University have put forward several immediate solutions to remove bottlenecks and connect disrupted supply chains that have impacted localities hit by COVID-19.
The group note in their report released on September 1 that current production and transportation models have caused numerous difficulties for local firms in terms of costs, health risks, and accommodation.
“Many highly-qualified workers in big cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, and Da Nang where social distancing measures are in place, cannot come to work, disrupting the labour force. Different control measures and different understanding of the concept of ‘essential goods’ in localities have hindered the transportation and circulation of goods,” says the report.
Experts state that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused supply chain disruptions in several key industrial sectors, including industrial manufacturing, garments, and seafood processing. They attribute these problems to the implementation of social distancing measures that have come into place in various localities, which in turn has led to a lack of materials and labour force for production.
Most notably, many agricultural products are now ripe and need to be harvested, although they cannot be consumed due to disruptions occurring in transportation, according to the report.
To remove these bottlenecks, experts suggest that the Government direct relevant ministries, agencies, and localities to ensure the smooth transportation of goods and production materials.
Local businesses should therefore be allowed to use employees who are fully vaccinated or who test negative within 72 hours, especially those operating in industrial parks and enterprises that have supply chains separate from residential areas.
Experts also suggest that the Government cross out the phrase ‘essential goods’ and instead replace it with the phrase of ‘goods and services that are not allowed for circulation’.
Vehicles should also be allowed to move freely on roads on the condition that drivers are fully vaccinated or test negative within 72 hours. In addition, drivers should not park, stop, and disembark locally. Vehicles will not be required to stop for inspection at checkpoints, but instead undergo automatic identification methods which will be installed at these sites.
Localities should move to establish a buffer zone that serves as a logistics centre to unload and transport goods to enterprises and residents in need. Filling stations must also have an area to perform quick tests and isolate drivers when their vehicle needs to be filled up.
As a means of helping businesses access safe labour forces, an app on safe labour should be formulated in order to provide information regarding recruitment and temporary jobs in industrial parks and localities.
Finally, experts suggest that the Government move to strengthen policy and regulatory dialogues with stakeholders, especially craft associations, businesses, and people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, to timely address their concerns.
Regarding long-term solutions, experts underscore the importance of incorporating the logistics mindset into the planning and implementation of the overall COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control strategy to ensure adequate, synchronous, and timely material and human factors for the COVID-19 fight.
To this end, experts say the Government and ministries must perfect logistics legislation and institutions to create a favourable legal basis for logistics activities in the market in all circumstances.
Moreover, the Government should comprehensively renew the national reserves system to further improve its role in logistics amid unpredictable fluctuations. It should also increase the investment and development of logistics infrastructure, including logistics industrial parks, logistics centres, and logistics clusters, in a synchronous and modern manner.
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