Freight News, Sea

Coronavirus outbreak ‘a possibility’ in UK ports

[ February 24, 2020   //   ]

A serious outbreak of the Coronavirus in a UK port cannot be ruled out, says British Ports Association member Hill Dickinson, in a paper on the virus and its potential implications for the sector as part of the BPA’s Port Futures Programme.

Tony McDonach, legal director at the law firm said: The threats to the UK ports industry from the novel coronavirus are not immediate but they are nevertheless real. The number of reported cases in the UK is low (nine at the time of writing) but growing.”

The paper said that a port with a quarantined ship or ships alongside could be designated as unsafe under maritime law.

The BPA and Department for Transport have also prepared a guidance note for UK ports.

BPA chief executive, Richard Ballantyne added that the outbreak was also having an impact on trade flows with a suggested six million fewer container shipping movements globally in the first three months of 2020, with China-Europe trade is expected to fall by 20%.

The coronavirus has caused some disruptions at Chinese ports due to the lack of stevedores and truck drivers, which has slowed down vessel turnaround times.