Wednesday, 29 April 2020
Port authorities vow to keep trade going in fight against the pandemic
Twenty port authorities from different parts of the world have signed a declaration calling for collaboration and sharing of best practices in ensuring port operations remain open to trade as part of the global efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ports across the globe have been declared essential services and have been working around the clock to maintain trade of goods, especially of food and medicines, uninterrupted.
However, there have been numerous challenges in ensuring the safety of port workers and seafarers while continuing to keep the operations going.
The declaration initiated by Singapore was signed by members of the Port Authorities Roundtable (PAR) including Abu Dhabi Ports, Antwerp, Hamburg and Rotterdam ports, Port Klang, Busan, Shanghai, Yokohama as well as Seattle, Long Beach and Los Angeles Ports.
It was the first virtual declaration for PAR members.
Through this joint declaration, the signatories committed to work together and ensure that merchant ships can continue to berth at port terminals to carry out cargo operations and keep the global supply chain going.
The ports also agreed to adopt best practices according to national circumstances, including precautionary measures for the shipping community, advisories and assistance for shore personnel and ship crew, and safe handling of cargoes during this period.
Furthermore, the port authorities vowed to continue to share experiences in combating COVID-19 while safeguarding unimpeded maritime trade.
“As the world battles with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has never been more critical to keep our ports open and goods moving. Shipping is chartering into many unknowns and new challenges. Port authorities have to take enhanced precautions for their ports and on ships, as well as manage the stress faced by our seafarers and maritime personnel. We have come together to make a declaration of our commitment, exchange experiences and share best practices,” Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), said.
“We came out of the session gaining more valuable knowledge to ensure that necessities and essential medical supplies continue to be transported seamlessly across the world and into our respective countries.”
PAR has shared the declaration with the International Maritime Organization and the International Association of Ports and Harbours to rally other port authorities to join this declaration.