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Singapore: MPA starts initiative to ensure ports remain open amidst COVID-19

27 Apr 2020

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Friday (24 April) initiated a declaration amongst the Port Authorities Roundtable (PAR) to keep trade flows and ports open in the global fight against COVID-19.

In response, 20 members of the PAR from Asia, Europe, Middle East and North America came together to pledge their commitment to ensure their ports remain open amidst the current pandemic.

The declaration calls for port authorities to collaborate and share best practices in ensuring that port operations can remain undisrupted, says the MPA.

“As the world battles with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has never been more critical to keep our ports open and goods moving,” said Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of MPA.

“Shipping is chartering into many unknowns and new challenges. Port authorities have to take enhanced precautions for their ports and on ships, as well as manage the stress faced by our seafarers and maritime personnel.

“We have come together to make a declaration of our commitment, exchange experiences and share best practices.  This virtual declaration by member countries across different geographical regions is also a first for the PAR.

“We came out of the session gaining more valuable knowledge to ensure that necessities and essential medical supplies continue to be transported seamlessly across the world and into our respective countries.”

Through this joint declaration, the MPA notes signatories are committed to work together and ensure that:

  1. Merchant ships can continue to berth at port terminals to carry out cargo operations and keep the global supply chain going;
  2. Best practices are adopted, according to national circumstances, including precautionary measures for the shipping community, advisories and assistance for shore personnel and ship crew, and safe handling of cargoes during this period; and
  3. Port authorities continue to share experiences in combating COVID-19 while safeguarding unimpeded maritime trade.

PAR has shared the declaration with the International Maritime Organization and the International Association of Ports and Harbours to rally other port authorities to join this declaration, adds the MPA.

The full list of PAR members who signed the declaration is available here

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 27 April, 2020


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