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Latin American ports take measures to remain open, guarantee operations

With the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world, governments and ports in Latin America are taking different measures to deal with the pandemic.

In Panama, officers from the Panama Maritime Authority’s directorate of ports are visiting the terminals to verify that the health measures recommended by the Ministry of Health (MINSA) are being complied with in order to guarantee the care of port workers.

At Balboa, PSA International Terminal on the pacific side and Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT), Colon Container Terminal (CCT), Terminal Bahía Las Minas Vopak and Cristóbal on the Atlantic side, operations continue under current conditions.

“At MIT, we continue to provide terminal service. Our first priority is the safety and welfare of our employees and customers while continuing to give critical services to support the supply chain,” said MIT vp of marketing Juan Carlos Croston.

 “We have implemented new protocols regarding the frequency and depth of leaning in all key areas, ISPS level 2 measures for vessel and terminal access, online gate process options and new gate hours, and splitting critical teams, when possible, to create redundancies in case of positive COVID-19 collaborators and assure operational sustainability.”

The Latin American media report that in Argentina, new crew controls have been established for foreign flagged-vessels crews. A period of free storage in the port of Buenos Aires' terminals, has also been extended from 20 March to 10 April for those cargoes operating in the terminals. 

In Peru, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism indicated that, during the State of Emergency, foreign trade operations and the transport of cargo and goods by air, sea, land, rail and river, is guaranteed.

In Brazil, the Port of Santos operates normally in all cargo activities of ships, trucks, and trains. While sea, road and rail accesses are open without any restrictions. In order to prevent contagion with the virus, the terminal operates on the basis of criteria established by the health authorities to ensure the protection of all personnel, whether port crew, employees of private companies, truck drivers or other workers.

In Ecuador, Puerto Bolivar continues to work normally in its cargo operations. Between 16 - 22 March 22 some 1.8m of boxes of bananas were loaded on nine of the 10 ships that arrived at the port.

The Chilean Maritime Chamber (Camport) said that all ports in the country are operating normally, allowing supplies in the midst of the crisis caused by the spread of the coronavirus. All ports in Chile have adopted and comply with protocols that establish guidelines for timely detection of travellers or crew members who may generate local transmission of COVID-19.

Terminals in Valparaiso, Puerto San Antonio, STI, Puerto Central and Puerto Panul have implemented improvements in their processes and have reinforced prevention measures for their workers.

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