CENTRO INTERNAZIONALE STUDI CONTAINERS
ANNO XXXVIII - Numero FEBBRAIO 2020
PORTS AND TERMINALS
CORONAVIRUS HITS PORT CALLS BY 30%
"Ports worldwide are now facing serious disruption due to
coronavirus as port calls in China have dropped by over 30% since
the beginning of 2020, a vessel tracking firm has warned"
The latest data from Windward shows the impact on maritime
operations as availability of goods for export in China has
decreased. Ports in China are under government restrictions on
movement and worldwide ports and shipping companies have issued
their own precautionary procedures.
Other issues are at stake for port operators though. The company
noted that "port demand across the world looks set to be
significantly reduced as the lack of ships departing from China
ripples through to receiving ports in Europe and North America".
It added: "A reduction that is before any account is taken
of possible widening of the pandemic into Europe or the Americas,
which could further impact global import/export activity, and bring
further headaches to those who manage port operations."
In addition to manufacturers in Europe and the US not being able
to obtain goods from China, global commodity prices have also been
impacted, as companies explore ship-to-ship transfers as a way of
avoiding coronavirus restrictions. This is something that will
further hit port operations globally, noted Windward.
Keeping control of the virus itself is a priority for port
operators in Asia. They are aiming to ensure they prevent spread of
the virus through crew and shipping personnel. "What ships
should be in port, and how can this be managed?" is a key
question, said Windward.
Ports need to maximise the data available to them to best manage
coronavirus impacts, including sanctions history, recent port calls
and cargo onboard.
On 19 February the IMO issued a circular urging "Flag State
authorities, port State authorities and control regimes, companies
and shipmasters to cooperate, in the current context of the
outbreak, to ensure that, where appropriate, passengers can be
embarked and disembarked, cargo operations can occur, ships can
enter and depart shipyards for repair and survey, stores and
supplies can be loaded, certificates can be issued and crews can be
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