Tessa Major is heading the Task Force
Port authorities around the world are being offered support and advice on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic through the newly established World Ports COVID19 Information Portal.
"In the spirit of international collaboration that drives the World Ports Sustainability Program, the Task Force and Information Portal have been set up to help ports worldwide handle the immense challenges they are all facing with the global COVID-19 outbreak. 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," says Patrick Verhoeven, managing director of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH).
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 well-known port economists, Theo Notteboom (Shanghai Maritime University, Ghent University and University of Antwerp) and Thanos Pallis (University of the Aegean and Universidad de Los Andes), will be working in the production of a weekly economic impact barometer.
"The operation of ports is of vital importance to face the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis," Verhoeven explains. "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."