The fight against the Covid-19 has increased the cooperation between port and cities. In Setúbal, Portugal, the port authority and municipality have collaborated to disinfect port infrastructure (PDF). The same port authority has also supported companies with fee exemption for 4 months (PDF). In Spain, the port authority of Cartagena supports a research project university in the development of ventilators with a 25 000 € grant. Also in Spain, Puertos del Estado has distributed over 1 million masks for port workers. In the meantime, the port of Dakar in Senegal, has extended health insurance to all its workers. In Belgium, in the port of Ostend, the company DEME provided a floating hotel for employees that cannot return home and must continue working.
After last week’s special edition, we continue to see different initiatives AIVP members around the globe are taking forward to reduce the impact of the virus. Many port authorities are making extra efforts in the logistic and economic fields. One the one side, speeding up payments to suppliers, while on the other, easing the fees to port companies to reduce the impact on port employment. In other ports, like San Antonio in Chile, we see how the port authority is actively contributing to disinfecting public facilities and trucks heading towards the port, and promoting vaccination campaigns against influenza. Being really what we call a “citizen” port. The port of Venice has developed Fast Track, a solution in coordination with other actors to speed up the delivery of strategic goods. At the same time, UNCTAD has gathered a guide of good practices and recommendations for ports, with clear indication of what can be done in crisis scenarios like this one.
On the social field, municipalities and port authorities are also stepping up. The port of Valencia launched the campaign #AlPieDelCañón, sharing videos in social media from port workers, recognizing their efforts to keep supermarkets and hospitals supplied. These videos show the different type of professionals involved in port activities. Other social initiatives include the campaign by the municipality of Bilbao in cooperation with the citizens to detect isolation cases among vulnerable groups, like the elderly. In a similar way, the port of Quebec, has assembled teams of volunteer port workers to work with community organization to deliver essential goods to several port cities.
The cruise sector has been at the center of several negative news during the corona crisis. However, it can also be part of the solution and positive news. In the past days several major cruise lines and ferry operators like MSC, Carnival or Moby have offered several ships to be transformed into emergency hospitals, releasing the pressure from land-based hospitals and healthcare systems around the globe. The most concrete example of this measure is taking place in Genoa, Italy. MSC proposed that the MSC Opera cruise ship and three ferries from GNV (Superba, Suprema e Splendid), a company they own, could be transformed in just 10 days. In this action MSC collaborated with the region, the municipality, RINA (certification company) and the port. The first case has been the Splendid, already prepared to host the first 25 patients that have overcome the most serious phase of the COVID-19 but must remain in isolation. The ship could potentially up to 400 hospital beds and a reanimation and intensive care unit in its hangar. This operation shows other side of cruises and the capacity to cooperate of port city actors in crisis situations.