The Port of Québec against Covid-19: our role and our presence in the heart of the community are essential
In addition to strict prevention measures, the Port of Quebec has also implemented solidarity actions to assist people at risk as much as possible. To express its solidarity to the people, the Port has also illuminated several facilities symbolizing the rainbow.
The Port of Québec is an active member of AIVP since 2011
AIVP – North America is heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. How is the virus affecting the Port of Québec, especially on the logistical and economical aspects?
Mario Girard, CEO, Port of Québec – On the logistical and economic level, the main impacts have been on cruise ships, for which Canada has prohibited their entry into Canada until July 1, 2020. For us, for the moment, this represents about 15% of our annual volume, our peak period being September and October. Our first quarter of 2020 ended with a 1% increase in volume compared to the same date last year, despite the situation. Liquid bulk volumes, particularly hydrocarbons, were the most impacted downward due to the sharp decline in land and air transportation. On the other hand, grains and cereals are still in strong demand.
AIVP – Special regulations for foreign sailors were introduced on March 19, as well as strong restrictions for cruise ships. This illustrates the role of Ports in the fight against the spread of the virus. Can you tell us more about how your port authority is contributing to the fight against the pandemic?
Mario Girard, CEO, Port of Québec – We take our role and presence at the heart of our community with the greatest seriousness. Every entrance to the Port is controlled at the main gatehouses and questions are addressed to each visitor. The movement of sailors for crew changes is allowed. Only Port of Québec employees required for operations are on site, with the obligation to respect the rules of hygiene and social distancing.
AIVP – The quarantine has disrupted our ways of interacting and prevents us from organizing events in the immediate future. How do you manage to keep in touch with the citizens and maintain public access to City Port culture?
Mario Girard, CEO, Port of Québec – Gatherings are prohibited in Quebec and the rules of social distancing are very strict. The public spaces of the Port are still accessible but are used either by individuals, couples or some families with children.
Regarding the Port of Québec’s ties with its immediate community, we are one of the first organizations in Québec to have illuminated the silos (a 650-metre long installation) in the colours of the rainbow to support everyone through this very difficult period.
We have also set up a community squad where some Port employees use our five hybrid or electric vehicles to deliver food to people in need or strictly confined to their homes (population aged 70 and over).
AIVP – In our special Covid-19 newsletter, we highlighted this initiative to lend a hand to the communities of Quebec City, La Cité-Limoilou and Lévis, thanks to teams of volunteers who deliver essential foodstuffs to people at risk. Can you, in a few words, give us more details about this initiative, or about other solidarity actions you may have launched?
Mario Girard, CEO, Port of Québec – As described above, this initiative will be implemented at the request of community charities. If we can in our own way and on our own scale make life a little easier for people in these difficult circumstances, we are glad and honoured. Working at the Port in Quebec is a form of privilege when we see everything this crisis is disrupting in its wake.