The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in its latest report discusses the experience of VCT during the pandemic
It highlights tools such as ValenciaportPCS to guarantee real-time information or the #AlPieDelCañon campaign in the social sphere
UNCTAD document highlights the value of advancing PAV payments to suppliers and service providers in the port to provide them with liquidity
In health matters, the application of safety protocols, the use of protective equipment and the disinfection of facilities are of particular importance
The operation of ports has been of vital importance in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, as it helps to ensure that essential goods such as food or medical supplies, as well as raw materials and manufactured products, continue to reach their intended destinations and that health and economic activity is maintained. This is pointed out in the latest report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) which has highlighted the role of the port community during the pandemic, and in particular the work of the Valencia Port Authority during the pandemic. The United Nations body highlighted the strategy developed by Valenciaport from the operational, health, economic and social points of view to put the value of the activity of the port community to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 on its activity.
The contingency plan for essential and non-essential workers which aimed to give continuity to port activity, the application of health and safety protocols, aid to inject liquidity into port companies and to reduce taxes, or the solidarity campaign #AlPieDelCañon are some of the actions highlighted by the UNCTAD. This information appears in the latest report on Maritime Transport 2020 drawn up by this institution which has analysed five cases which have faced up to the challenges and sought answers for maritime transport and trade during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the PAV, the following have participated: Mediterranean Shipping Company; Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transport; Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority; Panama Canal Authority; and Sailing for Sustainability, Fiji.
Operations and health protocols
According to the UNCTAD, the PAV distinguished between external and internal operations for which it drew up a contingency plan, differentiating between non-essential workers (more than 200 employees carried out telecommuting during the state of alarm) and essential workers. For the latter, a protocol was applied with safety and health measures to continue operating in the Valenciaport facilities, such as the use of personal protection equipment, the way of interacting with other workers or the disinfection of work areas. These instructions were passed on to the terminal staff, dockers or the ships that operated in the ports.
The United Nations agency also highlights the role of digitisation of the PAV thanks to tools such as ValenciaportPCS, which facilitate secure access to digital resources and real-time information for the port community operating in Valenciaport. This technological platform has positioned itself as an essential instrument for port management during teleworking. Thus, the report points out that the response of the PAV to this emergency situation enabled the ports it manages to remain fully operational during the pandemic.
Facilitating liquidity for companies
With regard to the economic impact of the pandemic, the study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development indicates that the PAV provided suppliers and service providers with 10 million euros in urgent and compensatory measures to alleviate the economic effects of the VOC-19. Specifically, it allocated 7.33 million euros to a total of 250 companies to provide liquidity to the companies carrying out work for the ports of Gandía, Sagunto and Valencia. In addition, it brought forward 2.64 million euros in bonuses pending from 2019 to its clients and implemented tax reductions. The report also highlights the agility of the PAV in establishing internal mechanisms to issue invoices as quickly as possible.
In the social field, the UNCTAD takes up the initiative of the PAV of the solidarity campaign #AlPieDelCañon to highlight the important work carried out by the whole of the port community which made it possible to guarantee the supply of goods and the good functioning of the logistics chain during the pandemic. The campaign led to the sharing of over 100 videos of people from the whole of the transport logistics chain in Spain and throughout the worldwide, who wished to explain their work and send messages of encouragement and solidarity.
The crisis as an opportunity
The United Nations report indicates some of the strategies that could be adopted by the logistics and port activity derived from the COVID-19 to be prepared for new pandemics or problems related to climate change: digitalisation, innovation, social responsibility, resilience or decarbonisation to achieve a more sustainable and inclusive development.
UNCTAD report available at: https://unctad.org/webflyer/review-maritime-transport-2020