New covid-19 task force to aid ports authorities

In response to the covid-19 pandemic, a new task force has been created to aid ports through the challenges they are facing.

The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) and the World Ports Sustainability Program have set up a Task Force comprising some of the world’s top experts to inform and guide the port authorities and users alike via a newly-established portal.


Patrick Verhoeven, IAPH managing director, commented: “Using the simplified format of five frequently-asked questions, we will provide guidance on current best practices, the industry’s collective recommendations to governments as well as regularly updated, useful information” comments.”


The Task Force will be headed up by Tessa Major, IAPH Vice-President for Central and South America and Director of International Business and Innovation at the Brazilian Port of Açu. The Task Force includes multidisciplinary port experts and professionals from the ports of Açu, Antwerp, Busan, Felixstowe, Guangzhou, London, Los Angeles and Rotterdam as well as Maritime Street, a consultancy specialised in digital trade logistics.


In addition, to keep track of the economic implications, two internationally-renowned port economists, Professor Theo Notteboom,(Shanghai Maritime University, Ghent University and University of Antwerp) and Professor Thanos  (University of the Aegean and Universidad de Los Andes), will be working in the production of a weekly economic impact barometer.

The five main questions being permanently addressed and updated are :

  • What is the current operational status of ports worldwide?
  • Where can I find information as a shipowner on port regulations and restrictions?
  • Where do I find operational guidance as a port based on global best practice? 
  • What support should I as a port request from my government? 
  • What is the economic impact on the global port sector?


With the aim of avoiding over-duplication and info-demic currently pervading online information channels, the easy-to-use portal will be updated with the guidance of the Task Force and using the most reliable sources of information. The portal features latest industry updates based on a daily screening of reports from individual ports, port associations, shipping organisations, governments, international regulators and specialised news outlets.


Patrick Verhoeven added : “The operation of ports is of vital importance to face the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Ports ensure that the world’s medical supplies, food, energy raw materials, as well as manufactured goods and components vital to the preservation of employment, continue to reach their intended destinations. We will play our part in assisting our members and the maritime community through this Task Force and information portal.”

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