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COVID-19 Operational Update

Posted on 19/03/2020

Port Operations in the time of COVID-19


  • Port Nelson is very much open for business and we are recording strong export and import volumes
  • Container volumes in February were particularly strong, with wine and incoming empty continers up on budget. In addition petroleum, cement and fertiliser imports have been strong
  • Log exports have been hit hard, with volumes in February approximately 70% of last years volumes. This reflects the challenges the timber industry has been having over much of the last year, which have only been made worse by the COVID-19 challenge
  • Looking forward, Port Nelson is expecting to see strong exports of apples, kiwifruit and wine over the rest of the year. Shipping companies are advising that there will be sufficient refrigerated containers to support this bumper crop.

Our response to COVID-19

 Port Nelson has three priorities at this time of the COVID-19 challenge:

 Safe guard the community’s sea border at the Port and safeguard our team members who are at the front line of that border

  1. Ensure safe working practices are adopted by the Port team and those who enter the Port area
  2. Ensure the Port operations continue throughout the current challenge

Looking at each of these in overview:

Safe guard the community’s sea border at the Port: Port Nelson receives some vessels directly from overseas ports, so it operates as a port of first arrival. Ministry of Health and Maritime NZ have provided clear guidelines covering the arrival of vessels at the Port. Current requirements require crews to remain on board and not come to shore unless they have met self-isolation requirements. With Port staff we have adopted an approach of requiring a level of protection above that recommended by Ministry of Health.

Ensure safe working practices are adopted by the Port team: Port Nelson has established ‘Working Practice’ requirements which again follow Ministry of Health guidelines but genreally with an increased level of protection. This information has been shared with other companies in the Port area to support the sharing of solutions.

Ensure the Port operations continue throughout the current challenge: The Port has developed plans to ensure critical roles have a high level of back up and to ensure its ability to continue to operate should infection in the community become an issue.

Refer to the Maritime New Zealand page for further updates: https://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/covid/default.asp