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Port of Antwerp remains operational

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Dry Bulk,

On 12 March 2020, the Belgian government announced special measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, the Prime Minister asked for important sectors of industry, including the port, to keep their activities going.

The Port of Antwerp is facing up to its responsibility and are making it a priority to keep the port fully operational.

As the main engine of the Belgian economy, the Port of Antwerp is essential to keeping Flanders and Belgium supplied. It is therefore doing everything necessary to guarantee good operation of the port. In addition, the port is actively working to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, with measures including:

Constantly following the advice of the World’s Health Organisation, EU and Federal Government Departments of Health (Saniport) and Mobillity.

A cross-border, multi-sector taskforce has been set up with various partners to monitor the situation weekly and to impose additional measures where necessary.

Incoming ships must submit a Maritime Declaration of Health 24 hrs before calling at port, in which the ship’s master must declare whether there is any illness or suspected illness on board, together with a list of the last 10 ports called at. The ship is screened for this by Saniport.

All events Port of Antwerp events that are no strictly necessary have been cancelled, and visitors are admitted to critical work locations in the port only where absolutely essential.

Economic impact on freight transport

The large degree of uncertainty about the spread of the coronavirus makes it difficult to estimate the economic impact on the Port of Antwerp. Since the outbreak is no longer limited to China, this will have an effect on the world economy.

15 fewer ships from Asia are expected to call at the Port of Antwerp in the coming weeks due to the corona outbreak. This is on top of the number of departures that are usually omitted at this time of year due to the Chinese New Year. China is the Port of Antwerp’s second-largest trading partner after the US. As yet, it is still too early to estimate the impact on the trade volume from the rest of the world.

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