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Covid-19: Europe's Ports Call on EU Which Holds Emergency Meeting to Keep Trade Moving

18th March 2020
Emergency Meeting: The EU Commission & Council of Ministers of Transport are this morning to coordinate action and measures to support transport sector, which has been badly affected by the Covid-19 epidemic. Above AFLOAT's photo of container ships berthed at a Lo-Lo terminal in Dublin Port. Emergency Meeting: The EU Commission & Council of Ministers of Transport are this morning to coordinate action and measures to support transport sector, which has been badly affected by the Covid-19 epidemic. Above AFLOAT's photo of container ships berthed at a Lo-Lo terminal in Dublin Port. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

The EU Commission and Council of Ministers of Transport this morning is to hold an emergency Transport Council to coordinate their action and discuss appropriate measures to be taken to support the transport sector, which has been badly affected by the Covid-19 epidemic.

Ports are the main players in the supply of essential goods and materials to European citizens, says the European Sea Ports Organisation (EPSO).

Europe’s ports are doing everything possible to ensure and guarantee the continuity of their operations in the coming weeks while protecting their staff and trying to avoid the further spread of the Corona virus.

While it is inevitable that the movement of people must be controlled and restricted, it is equally essential that goods can continue to flow to the greatest extent possible.

European ports have implemented contingency plans to ensure the continuity of their operations, in particular to ensure the manning of critical services in ports.

European ports call on the Commission and the EU member States to give priority to maintaining the transport of goods. All necessary measures should be taken to keep trade moving to ensure that essential goods and materials can be delivered to citizens throughout the EU. The closing of borders should not cut off the flow of goods.

To ensure that ports can continue to support the essential flow of goods and materials, particularly food and medicines, operators of critical and essential supply chain services in ports should be considered as a priority group in the distribution and allocation of prevention and protection material such as disinfection products, masks and gloves.

"These are extraordinary and challenging times for everybody and it is essential that the supply chains which allow essential goods and materials to move throughout Europe continue unhindered to the greatest possible extent. Europe’s ports are committed to continuing to support the flow of essential cargoes along with all other supply chain operators in the shipping, distribution and haulage sectors," says Eamonn O’Reilly, Chairman ESPO.

(Afloat adds O'Reilly is also the Chief Executive of Dublin Port where the impact of Chinese trade was previously reported) 

“90% of trade with third countries and more than 1/3 of intra-community trade is going through European ports. In times of emergency, ports have an essential role in providing citizens, health services and businesses with the goods and materials they need. Europe’s ports take this public responsibility very seriously. They count on the EU and Member States to give them the support needed to play this role,” says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

ESPO has in the meantime developed an instrument for its members allowing the exchange of best practices on contingency plans and protective measures in different ports.

Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Irish Sailing & Boating

Since restrictions began in March 2020, the Government is preparing for a 'controlled and gradual return to sport' and the 2020 sailing fixtures are being tentatively redrafted by yacht clubs, rowing clubs angling and diving clubs across Ireland as the country enters a new phase in dealing with the Coronavirus. The hope is that a COVID-19 restrictions might be eased by May 5th as Sport Ireland has asked national governing bodies for information on the challenges they face. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

To help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) everyone has been asked to stay at home. But some people may need to do more than this.

You may need to either:

You do these things to stop other people from getting coronavirus.

Read advice for people in at-risk groups

Read advice about cocooning.

Restricted movements

Everybody in Ireland has been asked to stay at home. You should only go out for a few reasons, such as shopping for food.

But you need to restrict your movements further if you: 

  • live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, but you feel well
  • are a close contact of a confirmed case of coronavirus
  • have returned to Ireland from another country

You need to restrict your movements for at least 14 days.

But if the person you live with has had a test and it is negative, you don't need to wait 14 days. You should still follow the advice for everyone - stay at home as much as possible.

Close contact

This is only a guide but close contact can mean:

  • spending more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within 2 metres of an infected person
  • living in the same house or shared accommodation as an infected person

How to restrict your movements 

Follow the advice for everybody - stay at home.

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