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International officials discuss Red Sea crisis implications on global supply chain

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International officials discuss Red Sea crisis implications on global supply chain

2024-05-25 18:35 Last Updated At:19:57

International officials convened in Leipzig, Germany, to discuss the far-reaching implications of the Red Sea crisis on the global supply chain at the International Transport Forum (ITF) held from Wednesday to Friday.

The forum brought together 69 nations to discuss global transport policy, especially potential disruptions to international shipping routes and the broader economic impact on global trade. They also explored ways to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels and the security of trade routes like the Red Sea.

Saudi Arabia is one of three nations joining the ITF in 2024. Their transport minister said the country is committed to securing trade routes.

"We are committed to the cause of the ITF working for, with everybody for a sustainable, safe and equitable, transport system in the world. And, stability is very important in every place in the world. And, we should work together with everyone to ensure direct and easy and free access for everybody in all international waters," said Saleh Al-Jasser, Saudi Arabia's minister of transport.

Chile will take over the presidency of the ITF for 2025. At the forum, Chilean transport minister expressed his hope to use the role to keep goods moving around the world.

"Keeping the logistics chains working is key for, not only the transport sector, but also for the world, as a whole. We've seen how different interruptions on the logistic chain can have. It's very important. Costs, economic cost, worldwide. And of course, the Red Sea is certainly one of the issues that need to be addressed. The safety there, the continuity of service. And that's something I think that this is the perfect forum for such conversations," said Juan Carlos Munos, minister of transport and communications of Chile.

Germany, host of the forum this year, also expressed the concern over the uncertainty the current situation poses.

"We all saw during the corona pandemic how vulnerable the delivery supply chains are. And so the security of supply chains is the focus of our security policy. I mean, we have also experiences with Nord Stream pipeline that we were vulnerable where we never thought we would be vulnerable. And also this applies to the Red Sea," said Hartmut Höppner, state secretary from the German Ministry of Transport.

Since December 2023, several major shipping companies have halted travel through the Red Sea and Suez Canal due to attacks on vessels by Yemen's Houthis. In the first quarter of 2024, transit through the Red Sea has dropped by 70 percent compared to 2023. With 12 percent of the world's oil and 10 percent of global seaborne trade passing through this route, the disruption has significant potential to impact the global economy, experts said.

International officials discuss Red Sea crisis implications on global supply chain

International officials discuss Red Sea crisis implications on global supply chain

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Disabled repairman offers free maintenance of wheelchairs for those in need

2024-07-14 17:36 Last Updated At:18:07

A warm-hearted repairman in Changzhou City of east China's Jiangsu Province has been providing free wheelchair repairs for disabled individuals for 16 years.

His name is Chen Zhijian, who has been disabled in his lower limbs since he was one year old. But his handicap did not become an obstacle for him to give a hand to others; he embarked on a career path of repairing wheelchairs for the people in need.

Though Chen's wheelchair repair shop is only 17 square meters, there is a lot of tools and parts, with various wheelchairs to be repaired.

Thanks to his rich experience, Chen can identify the faulty parts at a glance.

Over the past 16 years, Chen has repaired more than 1,000 wheelchairs.

In addition to repairing wheelchairs at his shop, Chen often offers on-the-spot service for the elderly and those with disabilities.

A nursing home, about eight kilometers away from his shop, accommodates nearly 50 elderly people, with more than 30 wheelchairs used here.

Because of the high frequency of use, Chen goes there once a week in order to maintain the wheelchairs regularly.

"The wheelchair structure seems simple, but its accessories are hard to find. Because of Mr. Chen, we're no longer bothered by the repair of wheelchairs, and Mr. Chen can help us repair wheelchairs at any time," said Zhang Xin, head of the nursing home.

Chen, initially running an electrical repair shop, decided to repair wheelchairs after he found that it is inconvenient for people with disabilities to maintain wheelchairs.

Zhou Ziren, a friend of Chen, was moved and funded him as a patron.

In 2017, Chen opened the wheelchair repair shop for free maintenance.

"When I first met Chen, I felt that his life was very difficult. Though he himself is disabled and his father is paralyzed, he insists on doing such good deeds, and I was moved by the spirit of his self-improvement, so I've gradually taken this as a long-term career," said Zhou.

Moreover, his kindness has attracted many other people to join him in providing free maintenance services for the disabled. At present, Chen's team has 13 members.

Relying on communities, nursing institutions and rehabilitation hospitals for the disabled, Chen has again set up 12 wheelchair repair shops in Changzhou City. Last years alone, Chen and his team repaired 250 wheelchairs for free across the city.

Now, more than 100 young people have been serving as volunteers and learning skills from Chen, hoping to offer help within their capabilities.

"I am 26 years old and I work as an electrician. After knowing that he repairs wheelchairs for free, I began to work with him to repair wheelchairs for people in need. I feel good when I see people happy because of the repairs. I hope that more young people will join us, so that we can do it for a longer time," said Zhou Qingquan, one of the volunteers.

"I'm now teaching some college volunteers. Although I can repair wheelchairs, I'm not able to keep up physically. If we can get some young volunteers to join our team, we can keep the cause going," said Chen.

Disabled repairman offers free maintenance of wheelchairs for those in need

Disabled repairman offers free maintenance of wheelchairs for those in need

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