Taiwan authorities assure that Covid-19 won’t disrupt Kaohsiung’s container operations
Taiwan’s Maritime Port Bureau (MPB) has sought to allay concerns that the Covid-19 cluster in Kaohsiung Port could affect container handling operations, as media reports have speculated of disruptions similar to those seen in Chinese ports.
Last year, Ningbo-Zhoushan and Shenzhen in China, two of the world’s 10 busiest ports, saw their operations interrupted by lockdowns resulting from Covid-19 infections. Now, with Kaohsiung battling to stem the spread of Covid-19, there are concerns that something similar could afflict Taiwan’s main container port.
MPB asserted that normal operations are continuing and the stepped-up testing regime that saw more screening stations set up across Kaohsiung port after a harbour pilot became infected, is aimed at preventing transmission of the disease.
As of 9 February, Taiwan recorded 638 domestic and 1,626 imported Covid-19 cases in 2022.
Also, Taiwan International Ports Corporation, which manages many of Taiwan’s ports, has mandated that any personnel boarding any ships in Kaohsiung will have to wear personal protection equipment (PPE) and be disinfected prior to embarkation, 24 hours a day.
Regarding the disinfection process, TIPC said that the personnel has to undertake any disinfection themselves, according to prescribed methods. Once the personnel has done the disinfection, they are to move to stipulated inspection booths. If the disinfection is incomplete, the personnel can be punished and suspended from working onboard ships. PPE can only be removed once the personnel has cleared the disinfection checks.
Kaohsiung City Health Bureau will also set up vaccination booths in the port from 11 to 12 February to provide booster jabs to any persons who require added protection. The jabs are also made available to other people who need to enter the port to work, such as truck drivers.