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Keeping trading a priority

Keeping trading a priority

(Posted on 20/03/20)

Ports worldwide are responding to the Covid-19 crisis in an effort to keeping vital global infrastructure open.

Below are some examples of the many statements and press releases received by IBJ, on how leading ports are reaction to the pandemic.

In Belgium, the first meeting of the Port of Antwerp Covid-19 Taskforce has now been held. It confirmed that the port is considered as essential national infrastructure and is important to keep Belgium and indeed the rest of Europe supplied. The port remains 100% operational thanks to the daily efforts and commitment of all employees. In addition the Taskforce defined various points for attention, and also set up a port monitor to survey the daily operation of the port with a view to additional measures.

In the UK, responding to the publication of the Government’s policy paper on its new Emergency Bill the British Ports Association has said that keeping the UK’s global gateways open for trade should be a priority.

Commenting Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive, British Ports Association said, “UK ports facilitate 95% of our trade and will be instrumental ensuring the country is fed and resourced in the coming weeks.

Half of the UK's food is imported and it will be critical to keep our ports open so that shops, public services, and businesses are supplied with what the country needs. The industry is generally very supportive of the Government’s measures to bring the pandemic under control and is working hard to keep goods moving. Also we would expect that proposed new powers to potentially close individual ports will only be used in the most extreme circumstances.

These are unprecedented times and we are working closely with the UK Government and devolved administrations. Our ports are currently open and facilitating imports of food, supplies and resources. It will be important that Government staff at the frontline look to support this effort as best they can.”

In Canada, the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA) has been taking every precautionary measure recommended by the World Health Organization, and the Public Health Agency of Canada to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In a statement, they said, “We will continue to do so over the coming weeks, and into the foreseeable future. We know that taking action now is critical to ensuring a lesser impact on our staff, the businesses operating at our ports, and the ripple effects on our local and regional economies as we meet this challenge together.

The 2020 marine shipping season is still set to open in a matter of weeks in Hamilton and Oshawa, and our ports will continue with as much normalcy as possible in the movement of goods via marine, road and rail during this crisis.”

In the Netherlands, a multidisciplinary, cross-border taskforce has been set up to ensure correct functioning of the port of Rotterdam, and to assess whether additional measures are needed and keep all stakeholders in the port informed of these.

The port of Rotterdam and industrial complex are vital for Rotterdam, the Netherlands and Northwest Europe.

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