On 30th of January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and on 11th of March, due to the rapid spread of the virus worldwide, it has been declared as a pandemic.
The WHO emphasized the urgent need to coordinate international efforts to investigate and better understand COVID-19, to minimize threat in the affected countries and to reduce the risk of further international spread.
ETF, IDC, FEPORT and ESPO are following closely the evolution of COVID-19 outbreak in Europe, and its effects on European ports.
In this context of global emergency, port stakeholders and workers are on the frontline and play a key role in ensuring that essential goods are loaded and unloaded and that all shipments reach their final destinations.
Disastrous economic consequences of this pandemic are expected to hit port companies in the coming months. It is of utmost importance that those undertakings are economically supported to avoid disruptive effects on the logistics chains as well as job losses. European ports are critical infrastructures of high importance for the Internal Market.
The above-mentioned organizations call on the European Commission to provide general guidance regarding health contingency measures to be applied in ports and to recommend to Member States to take all actions that are needed to preserve health and safety in the port sector including the necessary means for companies to ensure the safety and health of workers.
It is of crucial importance in this difficult context that more stringent health and safety measures in all European ports are implemented to preserve workers’ health, to limit the spread of the virus and to avoid prolongation of this public-health crisis and its economic consequences.
We call on all port companies to ensure that such measures are effectively implemented and to provide all necessary means to protect employees in the workplaces.
We call on all port workers to strictly respect health and safety measures that have been set to face this serious emergency.
ETF, IDC, FEPORT and ESPO will continue monitoring the evolution of COVID-19 and its impact on the sector and provide updates to representatives from the EU institutions.
Source: ESPO website