Freight News, Sea

Ports welcome furloughing extension

[ May 12, 2020   //   ]

The British Ports Association (BPA) has welcomed the announcement by the Chancellor on 12 May that the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended for four months until the end of October. It also said that updated social distancing would give businesses a practical framework to continue, or restart, operations, where it is safe to do so.

BPA corporate services manager, Sara Walsh, said: “The announcement regarding furloughing is good news for UK ports. This has been by far the most useful Coronavirus support mechanism for ports and unlike other measures such as those for commercial tenants which has left many ports out of pocket, it has not led to knock-on effects elsewhere.”

However, availability of PPE is becoming an issue with supplies such as sanitiser and masks beginning to run low in some ports. To date the Government has advised that masks and gloves are not required outside the clinical environment although some employers have been allocating equipment to staff as a resilience measure. Masks can however be a normal requirement for some roles, for example to protect from breathing in dust particulate.

BPA recently surveyed members and 44% reported issues sourcing PPE. Some ports have also reported substantial price increases which could indicate profiteering.