The Port of Antwerp Covid-19 Taskforce convened again this afternoon. The port is part of Belgium’s essential infrastructure, playing a crucial role in supplying Belgium and Europe. The port will remain 100% operational during this second wave of the coronavirus. This is thanks to the daily efforts and commitment of all its staff. At the meeting of the reconvened taskforce, a number of focus points were set out regarding the additional measures imposed by the National Security Council and the province of Antwerp.
Another meeting of the Port of Antwerp Covid-19 Taskforce took place today. The participants in the taskforce believe it remains essential to monitor the situation, and ensure that the port stays operational. At the meeting of the taskforce, it was once again stressed that keeping the port operational is a joint priority, to maintain our country’s supplies.
Port platform operational
The port platform is currently operating flawlessly. Up until now, only isolated cases of the virus have been confirmed. There has not been any rise in absenteeism due to illness, in comparison with last year. The taskforce is continuously monitoring the situation with a view to possible additional measures.
As always, all incoming ships must present a Maritime Declaration of Health (MDH), whereby the captain must indicate 24 hours before entry into port whether there are any infected persons or suspicions of infected persons on board, as well as a list of the last ten ports of call. The ship is then screened by Saniport (FPS Public Health).
The existing measures have been reconfirmed and additional communication is envisaged in this regard:
- Basic preventive hygiene measures
- Providing sufficient disinfectants in machines
- Exchanging documents digitally as much as possible, thereby minimising human contact
- Crews of ships and quayside staff will primarily communicate remotely (by radio, telephone)
- Applying the rules of social distancing, as far as possible and in particular keeping a distance of 1.5 meters between each person
Despite the impact of the coronavirus crisis on global production and logistics chains and a pandemic-driven drop in demand, the economic damage for the port remained limited. Total transhipments fell by 4.9% in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2019. After a strong first quarter, the port witnessed an expected decline in the transhipment of all flows of goods, with the exception of the container sector. For the third quarter, while the Port of Antwerp is still expecting blank sailings, it is also seeing the first signs of recovery and an upturn in the European economy.
The Port of Antwerp Covid-19 Taskforce will convene on an ad hoc basis. If necessary, more frequent meetings will be organised. For more information, port employees, customers and other parties can visit the coronavirus webpage and mailbox.
Sea News, July 30