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UPDATE: COVID-19 & The Shipping Industry in Egypt

The shipping industry has seen its fair share of market disturbances over time, from bunker setbacks and trade wars to financial crises and actual war. Yet in the words of Rose George’s book “Ninety Percent of Everything” which highlights how Shipping is “the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, And Food on Your Plate,” one cannot deny the importance of this industry and its resilience to global shifts.

The current disturbance is one that hits closer to many, affecting countless lives and changing the perspective on the impacts of our “global village.” With that being said, those in charge worldwide have taken measures to secure the health and safety of all who are in touch with the shipping world in the light of the global implications as a result of virus COVID-19 pandemic.

In view to the preventive and precautionary measures that all governments in various countries are taking to prevent the spread of any pandemic and to limit the chances of contaminations, we would like to shed some light on the regularity of the maritime workflow in the Arab Republic of Egypt and the measures taken to combat the virus through the coordination between both the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Transport by activating these measures from the executive authorities in the ports and we will further provide you with a summary of the information that we have gathered from our colleagues in various authorities and the branches of our multiple offices throughout the Republic.

With that being said, we would like to outline the following:

-The Continuity and regularity of work in all Egyptian seaports, 24 hours a day, is done under close supervision and follow-up by the Egyptian Ministry of Transport.

-The Egyptian Ministry of Transport issued a number of instructions and recommendations to ensure the regularity of Egyptian Ports operating movements and the carrying out of cargo loading and unloading operations as well as activities pertaining to exports & imports with a bloodline.

All such preventive measures are in accordance and adhere to the Health and Safety regulations and preventive measures and such regulations and procedures have been circulated to all Egyptian ports:

-All port employees whether dealing with the public, in administrative buildings or at port yards or truck drivers, are committed to wearing masks, protective gloves, and to use medical disinfectants.

– The competent authorities are carrying out the disinfection (sanitization) of marine units; whether tugs or lunches as well as all ports buildings and passengers’ arrival and departures halls.

-The competent authorities are also carrying out the disinfection (sanitization) of all outgoing and incoming shipments.

-Under the supervision of a delegate from the Egyptian Quarantine, vessels are prevented from entering and berthing alongside ports berths until the completion of the necessary checks and medical examinations to vessels’ crew in coordination with the doctor of each ship Department in order to ensure the absence of any contamination.

-Hanging safety instructions signs regarding Hygiene Awareness at ports’ entrance and exits portals and about the necessary precautionary measures to be taken to combat contamination. Moreover, the competent authorities are warning vessels ‘owners and vessels’ local agents to immediately report any suspected case discovered on board ships, in order to take the necessary measures.

The Egyptian government stressed the need for ports to operate regularly; as it excluding ports operating activity from the currently imposed curfew announced by the government to protect citizens from the spread of infection.

Also, for the operation of the port and the maritime administration not to affected by the aforementioned curfew, permits are issued for ports workers and representatives of agencies and shipping lines to move freely at ports.

Besides the commitment of all ports to the previous standards and controls, the administration of each port in turn, has drawn up plans to implement government instructions and work to optimize the regularity of operating traffic.

We must add that the Egyptian Maritime Transport Sector has circularized over the Suez Canal Authority and all the different Egyptian Ports the following guidelines published by the International Chamber of shipping which include the recommendations published by the WHO, IMO and ILO.

We are providing you with the link of these guidelines as published on the International Chamber of shipping website, namely:

https://www.ics-shipping.org/docs/default-source/resources/coronavirus-(covid-19)-guidance-for-ship-operators-for-the-protection-of-the-health-of-seafarers.pdf

However, with the continuously evolving facts concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and rapidly progressing measures and actions being imposed on an hourly basis, our teams will continue to monitor with our colleagues at the Suez Canal Authority and the various port authorities as well as with agents with the aim to promptly update you should the facts on the ground change.

Business as usual applies to Eldib’s offices in Egypt and our network of surveyors are also available 24/7. In case any assistance will be in need, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team and we will be very pleased to assist.

Our teams send you all our thoughts during this tough time and we know that the industry will come out of this stronger.