The declaration, initiated by Singapore, calls for port authorities to collaborate and share best practices in ensuring that port operations can remain undisrupted.
Recognizing that the maritime sector plays a critical role in keeping trade flows open in the global fight against COVID-19, 20 members of the Port Authorities Roundtable (PAR) from Asia, Europe, Middle East and North America came together on 24 Apr to declare their commitment to ensuring their ports remain open amidst the current pandemic.
Representing the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive, said, “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. This virtual declaration by members countries across different geographical regions is also a first for the PAR. 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.”
Through this joint declaration, the signatories are 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;
- Best practices are adopted, 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; and
- Port authorities continue to share experiences in combating COVID-19 while safeguarding unimpeded maritime trade.
The 20 ports are Abu Dhabi Ports, Antwerp Port Authority, Bureau of Port and Harbor, 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 Harbor Bureau, City of Yokohama, Port and Harbor 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, Port of Le Havre.