COVID-19: NZ joins global initiative keeping ports open and freight moving

02 June 2020

New Zealand has joined an international port authorities’ global initiative for safe and efficient movement of goods and shipping during the COVID-19 crisis.

World-wide, 56 port authorities have agreed how they will work together facilitating maritime trade as the countries involved fight COVID-19.

The independent Chair of New Zealand port companies’ CEOs’ group, Charles Finny, has signed the international declaration on behalf of our ports.

New Zealand’s maritime industry regulator, Maritime NZ, has welcomed and commended the declaration, which was initiated by Singapore and is being implemented by the international Port Authorities’ Roundtable.

The 56 port authorities who have signed the international declaration have committed to:

  • safely keeping global supply chains and trade going and allowing merchant ships to load and unload
  • coordinating so they can quickly share information about, and experiences of, combating COVID-19
  • continuing to adopt best practices for shore personnel and ship crew, safe handling of cargoes and measures taken in dealing with COVID-19 cases.

“Ports, shipping and international trade are crucial to New Zealand’s prosperity,” Mr Finny, said.

“Ships transport about 99 percent of our country’s goods to and from our markets.

“That’s how we move milk powder, logs and other exports, and it is how we import medical equipment and consumer goods, and stock many of the shelves in our stores.

“We are part of global markets where 80% of the world’s goods are transported via sea-lanes.”

The Director of Maritime NZ, Keith Manch, said the maritime sector plays a crucial role in keeping trade flows open in the global fight against COVID-19.

“Safe and efficient ports, with good international links, are vital for our country’s supply chain,” Mr Manch said.

The declaration closes with heart-felt praise for the workers in the maritime industry:

“… we would also like to express our deepest appreciation to seafarers, harbour pilots, shore-based workers and the maritime community who have worked tirelessly amidst the on-going pandemic in enabling international trade to continue during these challenging times. Together, we can do our part to help the world defeat COVID-19!”

Media contact for Mr Finny 0275 441 547.

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