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Safety measures keep HOPA moving
(Posted on 07/06/20)
Two months into Canada’s pandemic response, the Ports of Hamilton and Oshawa have safely sustained their roles as vital components of the national transportation network. So far this season more than 880,000 MT of cargo has transited the Port of Hamilton aboard 64 vessels. The Port of Oshawa has received four vessels, carrying a total of 48,000 MT of cargo.
“We’re proud of the role the HOPA Ports network has played in keeping Canada’s supply chains moving. At the same time, our port neighbours need to have confidence that as a gateway for global trade, we’re taking every precaution to keep our communities safe,” said Vicki Gruber, HOPA Ports Harbour Master & Manager of Port Security.
From the outset of the crisis, public and private sector partners across the transportation sector moved swiftly to adopt protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. “These changes have become part of our day-to-day operations now,” noted Ms. Gruber.
HOPA’s Harbour Master receives an update on any vessel coming into the Great Lakes, which includes a health check and crew status update. By rigorously following safety guidelines and keeping the communication open, the port is able to detect and respond to any potential concerns. All vessels are required to report to Transport Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and regional health authorities in Hamilton or Durham if symptoms in personnel aboard are detected.
New physical distancing measures are in place aboard vessels and on-shore, especially during crew changes. Terminals at our ports have been developing their own measures, in tandem with the International Longshoremen’s Association and the Maritime Employers Association. Some of these measures include enhanced PPE, safety protocols and hand cleaning facilities to keep longshoremen safe.
There are regular regional task force meetings with Great Lakes marine stakeholders – including Transport Canada, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, Canadian and U.S. Coast Guards, industry associations, shipping agencies, and port authority harbour masters including HOPA’s.
“Along with our partners, we remain committed to keeping Canada’s supply chains open, and providing quality service to our customers,” added Ms. Gruber. “We are grateful that these organizations have come together in an unprecedented way to protect port workers, seafarers, and residents in our port cities.”
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