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Port of Antwerp COVID-19 taskforce reconvene

Published by , Editor
Dry Bulk,

Another meeting of the Port of Antwerp COVID-19 taskforce has recently taken place. 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 the country's supplies. 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.

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 10 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 m between each person.

Economic impact

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 1H20 compared to the same period in 2019. After a strong 1Q20, the port witnessed an expected decline in the transhipment of all flows of goods, with the exception of the container sector. For 3Q20, 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.

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