Port authorities ink accord to fight virus outbreak by keeping ports open for trade
PORT authorities in 20 countries from Asia, Europe, Middle East and North America have signed an agreement to keep ports open for trade amid the coronavirus outbreak
PORT authorities in 20 countries from Asia, Europe, Middle East and North America have signed an agreement to keep ports open for trade amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Recognising that the maritime sector plays a critical role in keeping trade flows open in the global fight against COVID-19, the declaration, initiated by Singapore, calls for port authorities 'to collaborate and share best practices in ensuring that port operations can remain undisrupted' for the safe handling of cargoes according to national circumstances.
Under the accord, the port authorities are committed to working together to ensure merchant ships can still berth at ports to carry out cargo operations and keep the global supply chain going.
Chief executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Quah Ley Hoon, said the industry is facing new challenges in this unprecedented period, making the joint declaration all the more important.
'Shipping is chartering into many unknowns and new challenges (during the coronavirus outbreak). 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,' Ms Quah added.
The agreement is the first by the Port Authorities Roundtable (PAR), a by-invitation event of leading port authorities in its sixth edition this year.
'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.'
The 20 PAR members who signed the declaration are: the Port Authority Abu Dhabi Ports, Antwerp Port Authority, Bureau of Port and Harbour Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Busan Port Authority, Guangzhou Port Authority, Hamburg Port Authority, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Montreal Port Authority, Ningbo Municipal Port Administration Bureau, Port Authority of Thailand (Bangkok Port), Port of Barcelona, Port and Harbour Bureau City of Yokohama, Port and Harbour Bureau Kobe City Government, Port Klang Authority, Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, Port of Rotterdam, Port of Seattle, Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission and Port of Le Havre.