Ports need to remain open to keep supply chains open and to allow maritime trade to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic but best practice measures will help protect staff and ensure operational continuity.

This is the latest conclusion from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) TrainForTrade programme. The best practise measures, which have been implemented/observed and could serve as generic guidelines, are based on several documents received from ports that are part of the TrainForTrade Network.

The measures include increasing the use of digital documentation to limit human contact to the minimum; providing adequate and sufficient protective equipment to staff; and identifying decontamination areas in the port buildings.

TrainForTrade said: “It is crucial to keep the country’s borders open for all forms of freight transport, in particular ports considered to be essential national assets. Governments need to ensure that health measures are implemented in ways that minimize unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade; in particular, by respecting the requirements of “free pratique” for ships under the International Health Regulations (IHR).

“The principles of avoiding unnecessary restrictions or delay in port entry for ships, persons and property on board are also embodied in articles I and V and section 6 of the annex of the Convention of the Facilitation of Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention). This is underscored by the International Labor Organisation (ILO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

It also issued an example of a crisis protocol that can be used as a guide on actions that should be implemented in relation to strictly defined crisis levels.


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