More than 50 ports pledge to stay open amid pandemic

PSA Singapore terminal. Credit: PSA

More than 50 port authorities from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Oceania, and the Americas have signed up to the Port Authorities Roundtable (PAR) COVID-19 declaration, which was launched by the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore.

The roundtable pledged to keep ports open so that merchant vessels can continue to call at their ports and work together to share best practices in ensuring that port operations can remain undisrupted.

“Now is the time, more than ever, for global supply chains to remain intact. This is critical for the flow of essential goods across the globe, and for global economic recovery,” said Dr Lam Pin Min, senior minister of state of Singapore’s transport and health ministries, at the video conference held on 29 May.

With uncertainties over how the global COVID-19 pandemic will play out in the future, it is crucial that countries around the world remain committed to keeping their ports open for trade to ensure the continued flow of goods from one country to another, the MPA maintained.

“Critical and essential supplies that flow through the ports support the battle against COVID-19 and the gradual re-opening of economies,” said the MPA in a statement.

The PAR COVID-19 declaration is also supported by international organisations and groups such as the International Maritime Organization, International Chamber of Shipping, International Association of Ports and Harbours, APEC Port Services Network and American Association of Port Authorities, Italian Port Association, and Maritime NZ.