COVID-19 OPERATIONAL UPDATES
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29 March 2020
Essential Services Safely Provided at Port Nelson
Under the State of Emergency declared by the government, Port Nelson is classed as an essential service and the port infrastructure is classed as critical infrastructure to continue current and future operations.
As an ‘essential service’, the port is required to continue key aspects of our necessary regional services, while ensuring the safety of our staff and sub-contractors. Where the Government has determined that goods can flow, then our focus is to make that happen safely.
Being an essential service is a privilege and a responsibility. It means we are able to assist our regional exporters, who are classed as ‘essential businesses’, to import and export what they need to supply the region, and the country. For those that are not classed as essential services, the port is working to safely unpack and store imported goods for distribution once the lockdown is lifted.
While all industries face their own impacts of COVID19, the fair-weather growing season has resulted in bumper crops for apples, kiwifruit and wine in the Top of the South. These crops are listed by Government as Essential Services. Port Nelson is continuing operations to get these containers out on the regular calls of the CMA CGM group through its ANL service, MSC, Maersk and Pacifica shipping lines. Where possible, the port is also looking to create additional space for the increased number of containers being exported this season.
Early advice from government permitted the removal of logs from wharves. This advice has now been tightened to permit log movement only if essential to clear space for the accumulation of imported containers and uncommitted containers. This is to avoid compromising the flow of containers related to essential services.
Essential services being imported through the port and safely out to supply our community include; the continued vital supply of fuel for the Top of the South and fertilizer for essential agriculture and horticulture businesses.
Food manufacturers such as Sealord and Talley’s, in the port’s seafood precinct, also continue to operate as a MPI approved ‘essential service’. Their land-based factory and vessel operations are operating under stringent COVID19 working practices.
Construction projects related to an essential service are considered an essential service. As a result, the Port’s Main Wharf Project continues. The Port is currently compromised in its ability to receive vessels greater than 245m without the completion of the project.
The safety of our staff and sub-contractors are our top priority as we undertake our important duties during Alert Level 4. The Port and our contracting partners have implemented strict procedures, tailored for each work activity. These procedures have been developed based on Ministry of Health guidelines, and generally exceed recommendations.
It is a privilege to continue to support our community and facilitate businesses in our region during these unprecedented times.
24 March 2020
Following the government’s announcement on 23 March, Port Nelson is moving to a Level 4 operational mode.
The Port is an essential service as are many Primary Industries, particularly those related to food and related supply chain industries. Transportation related to essential services is also an essential service. As a result, the Port will continue to operate our services as normal.
At the time of writing, the status of forestry as an essential service is being clarified. It is understood that the harvesting and processing of forests is not an essential service, however the transportation and exporting of stored timber and timber products may be permitted. We will update on this as it comes clear.
The Port’s Slipway is open to vessels related to essential services; fishing and Port activities.
The Port’s staff are now operating under COVID-19 Work Practice Protocols. These practices provide an enhanced level of protection, above those currently required by Ministry of Health. The health and safety of our staff is of utmost priority to us.
Businesses accessing the Port will experience a change in procedures to ensure the highest level of precaution against COVID-19. Please be patient and adaptable as you work with these procedures.
19 March 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
- Ensure safe working practices are adopted by the Port team and those who enter the Port area
- 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