The Port of Antwerp has committed to remain fully open and operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as Europe looks set to suffer a second wave that could cripple the supply chain.
In a statement, the Port said its COVID-19 Taskforce has set and defined points of attention in order to maintain the free flow of goods.
Foremost is keeping the Port open and operational throughout any second wave of coronavirus, and the Taskforce has committed to doing so.
The Port is crucial to making sure the flow of essential goods, such as medical supplies and food, is uninterrupted and like ports all over the world has been an irreplaceable gateway for trade during the crisis.
Another point of attention is ensuring that port employees are not subject to curfew and other lockdown restrictions so that they continue to work in the Port. This means maintaining the validity of employer certificates issued during the first wave.
An additional point is making sure other transport workers are also not subject to stringent regulations and can continue to work.
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global production and logistics chains and a fall in demand as a result of the pandemic, the economic damage to the port remained limited.
The total cargo traffic dropped to the first half by 4.9% with respect to the first half of 2019. After a strong first quarter aware of the port to an expected decrease in the throughput of all the flows of goods, with the exception of the container segment.
The Port expects more blank sailings during the third quarter, but at the same time it sees the first signs of recovery and the recovery of the European economy.