Terminal operators want ports to remain open
Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup, has stressed the need for the nation’s seaports to remain open at all times while the Federal and state governments battle to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Haastrup assured that to guard against transmission through the ports, terminal operators were working with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to ensure that ships arriving the country report their crew lists and their health status before being allowed to berth.
She said port workers and users are being continually enlightened on their roles and safety measures, while adequate personal protective equipment have been provided for workers.
“As we face the global public health crisis birthed by the Coronavirus disease, otherwise knows as COVID-19, we advise government to ensure that the supply chain is not disrupted and the seaports keep running.
“Even if other sectors of the economy are shut down to guard against the spread of the virus, the seaports should remain open to ensure that there is no shortage of food, drugs and other essential supply to Nigeria,” she said.
Haastrup insisted that the shipping sector was critical to the continuity of economic activities, ensuring supply chains to industries, transportation of essential goods, including energy and food supplies, as well as vital medical and protective equipment and supplies.
“It is imperative that to effectively battle Covid-19, the supply of essentials, as well as for increasing the chances of economic recovery, maritime and connected transport is allowed to continue and that government works actively to support the sector throughout the crisis period.
“The continued functionality of the ports and port ecosystems is imperative for securing movement of goods at scale for prevention of shortages and maintenance of public order.
“Observations from China during the Covid-19 outbreak showed how top priority given to ensure business continuity in ports helped to minimise the impact of precautionary measures on the fluidity of trade and port operations,” she added.