Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Valencia Port is committed to supporting every component of the community. Through financial aid, it has tried to support local companies; through its charitable foundation Aportem, it has distributed food aid to the most vulnerable people; through sharing videos on social networks, it has highlighted the professions on the “front line” against Covid-19.
The Port authority of Valencia is an active member of AIVP since 1997
AIVP – How is Covid-19 affecting your region? What are the main consequences for port activities, especially the logistical and economic aspects?
Vicent Palací, Head of Communication, ValenciaPort – COVID-19 is having a high impact in Spain, although the Community of Valencia is not one of the areas most affected by the spread of the virus in the country. The three ports (Valencia, Sagunto and Gandia) managed by APV, the Port Authority of Valencia, continue to work normally, adopting the health safety measures imposed, to guarantee individual supplies to the population. Port activity has never stopped. In fact, during March Valenciaport handled 430,000 containers, a figure representing a drop of 9.83% – due basically to the decline in movements of empty containers. This drop can be compared to a very significant fact: the Port of Valencia handles a large part of Spain’s foreign trade and in this critical month the export of full containers grew by 2.86% over the same month in 2019.
In economic terms, APV has put in place a series of urgent compensatory measures to palliate the economic effects of COVID-19. One of these is advanced payment to 260 suppliers to the port community to facilitate liquidity. By 24 April, APV had advanced 6.41 million euros; and this figure is expected to rise to 51 million euros during 2020. Furthermore, the reduction in port charges established by the Royal Decree passed on 21 April represent a reduction in charges of 6.2 million euros for this financial year; so we are looking at a total sum of 57.2 million euros that the Port of Valencia “has put on the table” to contribute, insofar as we can, to minimise the impact of the crisis on APV’s customers and suppliers.
AIVP – In our special Covid-19 bulletin recently we stressed your “#AlPieDelCañón” initiative, which consisted in sharing videos of port workers on social media, to demonstrate their efforts to get supplies to the cities despite Covid-19. Could you tell us briefly about this initiative or other actions that you have set up to help fight the virus?
Vicent Palací, Valencia Port – The #AlPieDelCañon initiative is a campaign promoted by Valenciaport in solidarity with workers in the medical and social work sectors; it has achieved another very important object for the port environment: to give visibility to transport and logistics workers in general, whose work makes it possible to supply all the essential products that Spain needs at this critical time.
Our idea was for the police, the stevedores, the tug crews, the pilots, etc. to record their own videos. A mobile phone recording was good enough for them to explain what they do, what their job consists of, and the additional difficulties caused by the safety measures. We wanted to proclaim that transport, logistics, ports, technology, security, etc. are essential services to enable a country to function; to ensure that products reach every corner of a territory.
We have directly managed 130 videos. We have labelled them, inserted the title of the campaign, identified the port worker and published his or her video on the social media with which the port works (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, y Linkedin), showing testimonies of professionals which are very instructive and reflect great moral strength. We always ask them not to exceed one minute and we have respected 100% the messages of all the people who have contributed. In every case, the publication of the videos in social media has been accompanied by the #valenciaport, #alpiedelcañón, #estevirusloparamosunidos, #esteviruselparemunits hashtag and mentions of companies, ports or international institutions, like AIVP for example; this has helped to multiply their dissemination and their impact.
Once we had completed the first phase of the campaign, the Human Resources Department reminded the whole staff of the Port Authority that it was no longer necessary to send videos to the Communications Department, because we had created the hastag community and so people could now upload their opinions directly.
We also used the media to inform companies in the Port Community, and we are seeing that there are more videos on #alpiedelcañón every day.
You can see the diversity and number of the model videos with which we started the campaign at Valenciaport.com/alpiedelcanon. But everything that has been achieved is open and available in the cloud. That is the great thing about this campaign. There are videos in Chinese, Turkish and even Serbo-Croat; and people’s experiences of the pandemic have reached us from Argentina, London, Le Havre, Roma, Paris, Brussels, Hamburg, etc.
AIVP – Quarantine has disturbed the way in which we interact and prevents us from planning events, at least in the near future. What are you doing to keep open your links with the public and their access to the City-Port culture?
Vicent Palací, Valencia Port – For the moment, the State of Emergency prevents us from carrying out cultural activities in the Clock Building. However, we are starting to design other on-line activities which will give the population access and enable them to participate actively.
Looking to the future, we will shortly be announcing another initiative for everyone to send us by email photographs of everyday life. We want thousands of photos taken by different people of their working lives. We will use a selection to mount an exhibition of homage and thanks to all those who have fought to overcome this pandemic.
AIVP – In our special Covid-19 bulletin we also noted the initiative of your associated foundation, “Aportem”, which consisted in giving food coupons to needy people. Port authorities can help to reduce the social consequences of this difficult moment. Can you tell us briefly about this initiative or other actions that you have launched to support the community?
Vicent Palací, Valencia Port – Aportem-Puerto Solidario Valencia is carrying out a campaign to support hundreds of families living round the Port of Valencia, handing out food coupons to enable them to buy basic supplies. Prior to the State of Emergency, Aportem worked with schools in the area, providing food for the breakfast and lunch of children most in need. Now that the schools are closed, the organisation decided to offer food coupons. This initiative has benefited 205 families of schoolchildren in the area, as well as 129 adults and 69 children who were previously helped by the “Puchero Portuario de Coordinadora”, an initiative of the port workers’ association.