With the threat of the second wave of contagions grows in many countries, in South America, port city actors continue their solidarity actions to reduce the effects of the Covid19. The port of Valparaiso (Chile) continues to support the local community, with donations of equipment to the local hospital and food to disadvantaged collectives. In the meantime, in San Antonio (Chile), the port community lead by the port authority has sponsored a new laboratory to obtain faster test results. In Buenos Aires (Argentina), the port authority has extended the subsidies to concessionaries to reduce the economic impact of the crisis.
The citizen non-profit organization “Key West Committee for Safer Cleaner Ships” has successfully gathered enough signature to call for a referendum in November’s ballot. The referendum will include three questions:
1 – limit the number of pax disembarking to 1,500/day;
2 – ban ships with more than 1,300 pax;
3 – prioritize cruise lines with the best environmental and health records.
This initiative arrives in a critical moment, when the industry is debating when the activity should restart. At the same time that some companies announce national or regional cruises, for example in Italy or Germany, the control institutions of some countries such as the USA, extend the “No Sail Order” for all cruise ships. AIVP hosted a webinar dedicated to cruises last June, and will retake the debate after the summer period, framed under goal 9 of the AIVP Agenda 2030, considering the health and life quality of port city citizens.
While in some regions of the word the pandemic seems under control, in others the figures continue to grow. For that reason, port city actors operate differently, depending on the context. While in Europe, the focus is on the economic recovery and recognition of the impact of the covid-19 in our lives, as it is happening in an exhibition in Valencia, in others the direct struggle continues. For example, in the Caribbean region, where the Grand Port Maritime of Guadeloupe donated 12,000 masks to the University Hospital that will receive patients from neighbouring territories. Shortly, AIVP will publish an article reflecting on the impact of the covid-19 in port cities and the reaction of the local actors to fight it.
While in some world regions, the worst part of the Covid-19 seems to be in the past, with deconfinement already under way, in others it remains a serious threat. The solidarity actions from port city actors remain very relevant. In Chilean port cities of Valparaíso and San Antonio, the port authorities continue providing support to underprivilege groups or temporary workers. In Dublin (Ireland), the port authority delivered 500 care packs to seafarers, that have gone through difficult moments, remaining at sea far more than expected. In Trois Rivière (Canada), the port has announced a special donation to four NGOs active in the city-port interface during the pandemic.
As we will discuss this week in the 2nd AIVP webinar, cruises are in a complex position. Several countries have announced that they restrict cruise ships from docking in their ports. Canada has been one of the first countries confirming this measure, communicating that cruises are banned from Canadian waters until the end of October, effectively ending the cruise season of 2020. In other parts of the world, other countries are still limiting cruises. This week, the Spanish government announced that maintains a ban on the entry of cruise ships from any port. A similar situation is happening in New Zealand, where the government confirmed the ban on cruises. This situation is not only causing major economic loses to the companies, but also impeding more than 40 000 cruise workers from going back home. In the meantime, some ports are working on their medium-term (3years) plans to recover the lost cruise traffic, like Barcelona. In other Spanish port cities, like Málaga, cruise terminal operators see this as an opportunity to improve this type of tourism, making it more sustainable and increasing the value for the hosting city. These will be the challenges for the recently re-elected president of Corporación de Puertos del Cono Sur, Mr. Carlos Mondaca, also VP of AIVP.
As we have shown in previous newsletters and interviews, port city actors are particularly active against the Covid 19. In Europe, the ports of Málaga (Spain), and Antwerp (Belgium), have just announced further fiscal and economic measures to protect port companies. In the case of Spain, it builds on the national program defined by Puertos del Estado, while in the Belgian case, the port, the chamber of commerce and the entity responsible for concessions have agreed an extension of the period to pay the concession fees. From a social perspective, the port of San Antonio (Chile), just concluded the 11th sanitation of the local hospital, while in Dakar (Senegal), the port through its foundation delivered more than 50 000 masks to the municipality and Minister of woman, family and gender.
The North Sea Port and the Port of Antwerp have launched new projects to drastically reduce the emissions. The project Antwerp@C led by the port of Antwerp brings together leaders of the chemical and energy industries to find viable solutions to reduce emissions in the port, by capturing and utilising or storing CO2. The project started in late 2019, and next step is looking for EU subsidies. In the North Sea Port, a cross border consortium led by Smart Delta Resources, with the support of several companies and the port authority is taking steps to drastically reduce the emissions in the port city region. The goal is to capture CO2 and reuse or store it underground. These methods would reduce this kind of emissions by 30%. The current stage is a feasibility study to be completed until the end of the year.