2020 March 23 16:12

COVID-19: BPO calls for EC and EU member States to work together with transport sector and keep trade going

Ports are the heart of the logistics industry, through which goods travel between continents and countries. As such, it is essential that they remain operational despite global crises, such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Baltic port operators are well aware of their crucial role, rising up to the challenge and keeping the flow of goods running under these severe circumstances.

Special measures are being introduced, not only to guarantee the safety of their own employees, but also support other members of the maritime community. Teamwork and willingness to cooperate were always the strong suit of the Baltic maritime industry and they will be the key to pushing through this crisis.

It is highly important to understand, that difficulties arising from hindrances in the flow of goods affect whole societies. While the pandemic takes its toll on the global economy, the world keeps turning. As such, maintaining a steady and timely supply of food, various equipment, fuel and, especially in these times, medical supplies, becomes even more crucial.

Various countries introduced restrictions, accepted by societies and businesses. These include shutting down borders, except for moving cargo. It is paramount to enable ships and trucks to travel smoothly under the strict measures which have been introduced, while at the same time not compromising the necessary safety regulations.

Therefore, the Baltic Ports Organization (BPO) calls for the European Commission and the EU member States, to work together with the transport sector and keep trade going. Operators and their staff must have unhindered access to protection materials necessary for them to carry out their duties while remaining safe and not endangering others.

Kimmo Naski, BPO Chairman said: The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the global economy badly. However, there will be again better times after the pandemic. Therefore, the decision makers should take all actions necessary to support the trade and transport, including Baltic ports, to help them to recover as soon as possible.

The BPO will keep monitoring the impact the coronavirus outbreak has on the sector and measures implemented by port operators.

An analysis of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for the maritime market in the Baltic Sea region is in the works and will be published in the coming days.