Friday, June 12, 2020

Ports and Marine Insurers Collaborate to Give Virus Safety Advice

Keeping Key Cargo Terminal Workers Safe During the Crisis
Shipping News Feature

UK – The TT Club, one of the industry's leading international insurance providers, specialising in the cargo handling sector and an Associate Member of the British Ports Association (BPA), has prepared a short paper for UK ports and terminals to consider as part of their risk assessment and management plans during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Club says that UK ports have demonstrated their resilience by continuing to facilitate 95% of the UK's trade throughout the lockdown period, which includes half of the country’s food imports, along with medicines, energy and fuel. Rightly staff maintaining services through the ports were identified as key workers and all concerned are keen to ensure they get the right support as the situation eases.

The TT Club paper, ‘Safeguarding the Workforce’ is part of the BPA's Port Futures Programme, which considers emerging and innovative trends in the ports sector and commenting on it, Sara Walsh, Corporate Services Manager, at the British Ports Association said:

“During this rather unusual and challenging time, all UK ports are under a lot of pressure. They are having to make difficult decisions about how best to maintain their workforce so critical tasks are performed and legal duties met, whilst also supporting staff who are working at home or are self-isolating.

”We are pleased to be working with TT Club to produce this short paper that addresses some of the key things UK ports and terminals must continue to prioritise when managing their workforce during COVID-19 and its immediate aftermath.

”The maritime sector is like no other and has worked together during this unprecedented time to overcome the challenges faced as best it can whilst still ensuring food, medicines, energy, fuel and other products continue to flow into the country.”

Michael Yarwood, TT Club’s Managing Director for Loss Prevention commented on his organisation’s report for the BPA:

“Like many other sectors who have 'key workers', those who work at UK ports and terminals are in a unique position as the vast majority of roles cannot be performed at home. We have compiled a list of factors operators should consider as part of their risk assessments and management plans during the Covid-19 outbreak.

”From social distancing, cleaning facilities, personal protective equipment, shift patterns, communications to remote working and health and well-being, ports must continue to support their staff and ensure all risks are managed as best they can be. We are committed to supporting the industry in this effort and are continuing to create and collect resources such as this paper to guide good practice.”

In further support of the ports sector during the pandemic, Port Skills and Safety, the industry body for port health and safety with which BPA works closely is developing a ‘Gazetteer’ document that will signpost the various government and industry guidance documents available.

This will be circulated to BPA members and can be consulted here at the ‘Ports Coronavirus Hub’. It is intended as a living document, updated as new government and industry guidance continues to be published.

Photo: Safety precautions extend to out on the water with polycarbonate and Perspex screening fitted to harbour launches. Courtesy of Harwich Haven Authority.