The IAPH-WPSP survey explains how the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the availability of workers at ports.
Huge impact on worker availability
The measures to fight the COVID-19 outbreak up to now have not had a huge impact
on the availability of port workers.
Still, 16% of the ports mention they face shortages of dock workers, 7% of the sample is confronted with shortages for the delivery of technical-nautical services (pilots, towage, mooring), while only 2 ports are short of personnel for harbour master services. Strikingly, nearly 30% of the port authorities report a moderate to more serious decline in staff availability.
Home office to workers
Working from home – teleworking, has emerged as a quite regular practice, especially for
employees in administrative services. Quite a few ports reported teleworking. For some,
the effects of government-enforced rules result in 80% of staff working from home and
20% essential staff working from port.
There are ports that “assigned a home office to the administrative workers” as a formal policy. This implies that except for specific cases, employees are required to work from home and to be reachable during working hours.
In another examples, a minimum number of employees with non- operational roles is
requested to work from home.
Prevention of direct contact
Overall, operational workers remain in attendance at work as normal although port
workers have to respect the safe measures in order to prevent direct contact (e.g. social
In one case, social safety nets were required, such as layoffs for passenger terminal workers (cruises and ferries) and there are no seasonal workers requirements because of the cessation of ferries and cruises for the next months. Disruptions present are minimal (e.g. no port state control inspections).
Currently, pilotage, VTS and ancillary services in all ports are proceeding normally, with worker availability within the ports being sufficient for the functioning of port operations.
Ports are endeavoring to guarantee essential services so that the provision of goods to the population is not disrupted.
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