The Port of Antwerp's Covid-19 Taskforce held its third meeting today (2 April), and has since confirmed that operations are functionning smoothly, with 'sufficient manpower to meet the demand for foodstuffs'.
The Taskforce confirmed that the EU's 'green lanes' for truck transport were now working better at European level. although it did admit that the economic impact on the port was getting 'more and more difficult to forecast', given the uncertainty about how consumer confidence and industrial activity will return and what the effect on the logistics chain will be.
'At the moment the port platform is still working perfectly and there are no insurmountable problems,' the Taskforce stated. 'The rate of absence due to illness is actually falling throughout the chain of transport. There is a clear battle of efficiency to keep Europe supplied, with the introduction of EU green lanes.'
Several measures remain in place, such as basic preventive hygiene measures, provision of sufficient cleaning products for machines, and the application of the rules of social distancing as far as possible, in particular by keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between people.
The port is not currently experiencing any fall in the volume of freight – In fact there has been a noticeable increase in the volume of pharmaceuticals and e-commerce, the Taskforce outlined.
The supply of foodstuffs is also going smoothly, although there has been a fall in imports and exports in several areas such as cars.
'The large degree of uncertainty about the spread of the coronavirus and the effects on consumer confidence and the supply chains make it increasingly difficult to forecast the economic impact on the Port of Antwerp,' the Taskforce stated. 'Port of Antwerp will continue to monitor the situation and will respond to the demands of the logistics operators and the terminals.'