BPA launches new coronavirus information hub

Pneumonia coronavirus covid-19 and British flag illustration

The British Ports Association (BPA) has launched a new information resource for UK ports dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, the association said in a statement on 2 April.

The ports industry undertakes a vital role in the UK economy, facilitating trade, fuel, energy, fishing, recreation and tourism. All tiers of Government and the industry are committed to UK ports staying open to help sustain the country during this challenging time.

The BPA has been working flat-out to support the industry with regular calls and correspondence with the UK and devolved Governments on everything from business support and key workers, to security and fishing.

It is are also continuing to push for an expansion of testing and protective equipment for ports’ essential key workers.

Given the volume of information and guidance being issued on a daily basis from Government(s) and numerous agencies, the BPA is now signposting all of this content in one place in a clear and concise manner.

Ports have been receiving daily updates on a wide range of topics as they are announced, but the BPA recognise this can be overwhelming so have gathered everything in one place.

In cooperation with the UK Government, the Association will be keeping the hub up to date with the latest Government guidance and information.

Insight: What does a lockdown mean for ports?

To further support the UK ports sector, the BPA has asked the ports and maritime law firm Hill Dickinson, an Associate Member of the BPA, to produce a short paper on the employment implications for UK ports as the shipping industry addresses the global coronavirus pandemic.

Mark Cranshaw, Associate at Hill Dickinson, said, “The vast majority of those working at UK ports are considered to have ‘key worker’ status which provides an exception to the government’s strict social distancing guidance to stay at home and permits travel for work purposes (where work cannot be performed from home). Like many other sectors who have ‘key workers’, this presents as a unique and unprecedented challenge for all UK ports.”

“Employers are having to consider which roles can be performed remotely, and where this is not possible, implementing procedures for shift working, social distancing and hand washing. Organisations also need to ensure adequate PPE is made available, where appropriate.

“Ports have a statutory duty to remain open, where it is safe to do so, but must also ensure the protection of all port users, including visitors, workers and employees. Port users should continue to monitor government advice and take advantage of the various support packages available, but organisations should also be mindful of both their statutory and contractual obligations in relation employees,” he concluded.

This paper is part of the BPA’s Port Futures Programme which is a series of papers considering emerging and innovative trends in the port sector. This article is part of a forthcoming wider piece of work from Hill Dickinson and the BPA examining the potential impacts of pandemics on port.

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