Efforts to maintain safe green zones at seaports

SGGP
Considered as one of the leading important links in the global shipping chain, over the past time, despite being heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam's seaport system in general, and the Cai Mep - Thi Vai port system in particular still achieved impressive growth.
Efforts to maintain safe green zones at seaports ảnh 1 Unloading goods at Cai Mep-Thi Vai International Port. (Photo: SGGP)
Cargo containers through the port increased by 35 percent

Accounting for two-thirds of the import and export activities of the South and 100 percent of import and export activities to the US, in the last days of August, the road to Cai Mep - Thi Vai port is still bustling. In the context that the Covid-19 pandemic recurs and develops complicatedly in many cities and provinces in the Southern key economic region to minimize damage to import and export activities, seaport enterprises have been implementing effective solutions to prevent the penetration of Covid-19 to maintain operations.

Specifically, at Tan Cang - Cai Mep International Port (TCIT), from July 7 to now, enterprises have actively applied the three-on-site solution. They arrange the living and working areas independently among departments, implement distancing each workgroup that often directly contacts customers, such as sales and cashiers, and maintain quick testing every three days. The representative of TCIT said that the unit encouraged customers to register for service procedures and deploy online payment to prevent the pandemic.

Along with TCIT, Hung Thai Marine Offshore Service Port and Cai Mep International Port (CMIT) also quickly implemented the three-on-site solution, carefully controlling workers, contractors, and customers entering and leaving the port, separating areas and cargo flows to minimize contact between areas and cargo flows and easily localize when there is an F0 case in each area.

According to the Vietnam Maritime Administration, more than 90 percent of commercial cargo is transported by sea. Deep-water ports are essential infrastructures for export activities. Thanks to drastic and synchronous solutions, in the first eight months of this year, the volume of cargo containers through the seaport system still reached nearly 16.8 million TEUs, up 18 percent over the same period. Exported goods exceeded 5.4 million TEUs, up 16 percent, while imported goods surpassed 5.5 million TEUs, up 21 percent year-on-year. In the Cai Mep - Thi Vai port cluster alone, cargo containers through the port reached 3.2 million TEU, up 35 percent.

Dealing with a prolonged pandemic

Thanks to strict implementation of Covid-19 prevention and control measures, some Covid-19 cases appeared at some ports and were detected in time. However, after more than two months of implementing the “three-on-site” and “one route, two destinations” models, it has also revealed certain limitations.

Mr. Nguyen Xuan Ky, CEO of CMIT, said that the investment costs of essential infrastructure, accommodations, living, allowances, and periodic Covid-19 testing fees for more than 350 employees and contractors in the port were up to more than VND1 billion per week, which have been causing many difficulties for the company. Besides, if the pandemic prolongs, workers' sentiment will be affected after a long stay at the workplace, directly affecting productivity and work safety.

CMIT has sent a proposal to the provincial People's Committee to allow it to combine many solutions. Specifically, the company only continues to apply the “three-on-site” solution for employees with the place of residence in other provinces and employees living in the red and high-risk yellow zones. In addition, it will apply the solution “green zone + two-on-site + one route”.

Specifically, employees in green zones will be allowed to go to work every day provided that when they return home, they will not go anywhere outside their current residence area; comply with the 5K message and implement “two-on-site” at work. The company also recommends the province to develop a consistent policy between localities and businesses to be able to pick up and drop off employees at some specified pick-up points on a route instead of picking up at home or being forced to carry out "one route, two destinations”.

These combined solutions will open a new direction to both ensure Covid-19 prevention and help port enterprises maintain flexible operations and at the same time, can provide support and receive more ships from Cat Lai Port or other ports in HCMC if these places are congested.

Amid the difficulties of enterprises, the People's Committee of Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province has issued a document requesting enterprises to assess the implementation of safe production models, clearly analyze the advantages and disadvantages, and choose the most suitable model for implementation in the coming time. However, they must ensure the principle of “production is only carried out when it is safe, and production must be safe".

By Nong Ngan – Translated by Thanh Nha

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