Amid the global Covid-19 pandemic, 20 Port Authorities Roundtable (PAR) members have signed a declaration to keep the ports open to ensure trade flow.

The declaration, signed by port authorities from Asia, Europe, Middle East and North America, was initiated by Singapore.

It also calls on port authorities to partner and share best practices to ensure that the operations in the port are not disturbed.

Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) CEO Quah Ley Hoon said: “Shipping is chartering into many unknowns and new challenges. Port authorities have to take enhanced precautions for their ports and on ships, as well as manage the stress faced by our seafarers and maritime personnel.

“We have come together to make a declaration of our commitment, exchange experiences and share best practices. This virtual declaration by member countries across different geographical regions is also a first for the PAR.

“We came out of the session gaining more valuable knowledge to ensure that necessities and essential medical supplies continue to be transported seamlessly across the world and into our respective countries.”

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The authorities who signed the declaration committed to ensuring that the merchant ships can berth at port terminals for the continuation of cargo operations and to implementing best practices for the safety measures and safe handling of cargoes.

The port authorities also agreed to continue to share experiences in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and protecting the unhampered maritime trade.

The declaration was shared with the International Maritime Organization and the International Association of Ports and Harbours to invite other port authorities to sign the declaration.