Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Maritime, Ports/Terminals » Business as usual at Manila container terminals

The terminals operated by Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) and International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) are on business-as-usual operations even as they implement measures to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In separate disclosures to the Philippine Stock Exchange on March 16, ATI and ICTSI detailed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business operations and the measures they have been taking in connection with the health crisis.

ATI said business operations continue and follow existing government regulations and guidelines.

ATI and its off sites are also undertaking measures including implementing a business continuity plan in relation to the disease. ATI also has a prevention and control plan for COVID-19 and other communicable diseases in place as well as emergency response procedures for situations concerning public health and safety.

These procedures include mandatory thermal scanning prior to entry into gates and offices, deployment of thermal imaging equipment in areas where there is heavy volume of people, issuance of personal protective equipment, work from home and four-day work week, regular sanitization of offices and facilities, social distancing, remote modes of communication such as teleconferencing and video calls, and a sustained information campaign on COVID-19 and proper personal hygiene.

ATI said it is also in continuous close coordination with relevant government entities.

ICTSI, for its part, said all its terminals are fully operational and are taking “every measure to protect our employees, customers, suppliers, contractors and the communities interacting with our Terminals, while ensuring that our part of the logistics chain is operating smoothly.”

“At our flagship facility in Manila, movement to and from the National Capital Region remains unimpeded based on the recently issued regulations by the national government,” the port operator said.

ICTSI noted that most of its facilities operate through web-based terminal operating systems with semi-automated or automated gates and online billing capabilities, while cargo handling is performed through single-operator port equipment.

“Where there is substantial human interaction, whether employee to employee, or customer to employee, ICTSI is taking all the necessary measures according to global best practice to either temporarily stop the interaction or limit it without any disruption to the essential flow of trade,” the port operator said.

ICTSI said immediate risks from COVID-19 for its business would come in the form of suspected virus spread, which would entail the temporary isolation of certain pieces of equipment, a shutdown of the billing areas or other commercial areas, and temporary stoppages of operations to isolate facilities and ensure a safe environment for the continued flow of goods.

Macro risks include a reduction in volume at certain facilities due to a general slowdown in trade.

ICTSI said the impact of COVID-19 on its business operations is related to these potential interruptions or disruptions.

“The impact of volume slowdowns will be regional in nature and will depend on how global supply chains continue to be affected by COVID-19,” ICTSI said.

It encouraged its customers to use its inland and barge facilities in Laguna and Cavite to provide options for locators in those areas to reduce travel and interaction.

In addition, all employees, customers, suppliers, contractors and other port users are mandated to strictly follow ICTSI’s Memorandum on COVID-19 Precautionary Measures, such measures including appropriate hygiene practices and social distancing requirements.

“Considering that the COVID-19 situation is extremely dynamic, we will continuously assess its risks and impacts not only to our business operations, but also to our employees, customers, port users, suppliers, contractors and communities where we operate. We will also continue to improve our mitigating measures as and when necessary,” ICTSI said. – Roumina Pablo

Photo courtesy of PPA

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