Mon | Mar 30, 2020

Shipping industry responds to coronavirus

Published:Tuesday | March 24, 2020 | 12:13 AM

The shipping industry has taken action immediately upon the Shipping Association of Jamaica activating its response plan in the face of the threat posed by the novel corona virus, COVID-19.

The measures being taken include encouragement of online transactions; limiting face to face contact; instituting social distancing arrangements; the installation of sanitising stations, and promoting public awareness of the new measures and appealing for the support of all customers and stakeholders to help to stem the pandemic.

Some of the measures being taken are as follows:

Jamaica Freight & Shipping Co. Ltd (JFS)

JFS has advised customers that they are open for business and is asking their compliance with the safety measures activated with the following:

1. Pedestrian gates being sanitised continuously.

2. Customers to declare to the security at the gate if they have travelled recently and/or if they are not feeling well.

3. Visitors who are visibly not well (coughing or sneezing) will be denied access to the building.

4. Hand sanitisers have been placed at the entrance door and on the counter for customer convenience.

5. All customers/visitors are required to sanitise their hands before entering the building and again before handing over documents to any member of the JFS team. Any customer/visitor who refuses to sanitise will be denied access to the building.

6. Only one customer per transaction will be allowed access to the foyer.

7. A limited number of customers will be allowed in the foyer.

8. Counters/surface areas are being sanitised continuously by the JFS team.

In addition to the above measures, JFS has activated a shift schedule for their team to ensure continuity of business. In instituting a scaling down of personnel required to be at the workplace, operating hours have been changed during this period to: 8:30 a.m. – noon and from 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Kingston Freeport Terminal (KFTL)

KFTL is using electronic means where possible to reduce the need for direct contact. As such, KFTL vessel planners will no longer go on-board vessels to seek approval of load plans. Electronic data interchange plans will be distributed to agent representatives, central planners and chief officers/vessel command via email for approval. All changes will be accepted in the same format and any other update during vessel operation must be communicated in the same way. At the end of operation, the final plan will be distributed via the same medium.

Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL)

KWL has advised its clients, partners and the public that its terminal and other facilities remain open. KWL has expressed their commitment to protecting employees, customers and partners, while ensuring that the port continues to function.

The company has activated its business continuity plan as part of its prevention and response protocol. The following measures are intended to facilitate business while limiting personal contact:

- Customers are encouraged to use electronic payment options such as the KW Mobile App; e-payment platform and wire transfers.

- Freight-forwarders and NVOCC clients are asked to encourage your customers to utilise the door-to-door delivery and pre-clearance options.

n Starting on Tuesday, March 17, agents were invited to support the following document processing that will be exclusively done online:

1. Vessel Manifest and LCL/Consolidated Manifests are to be emailed to customer.services@kwljm.com.

2. Amendments are to be emailed to customer.services@kwljm.com. These emails are to include the agent’s amendment outlining the change required and the ASYCUDA Payment Code

3. Export R&D and dock receipts will be accepted electronically by emailing customer.services@kwljm.com.

4. Container and motor vehicle delivery appointments are to be made via the Client Engagement Centre – http://clients.kwl.happyfox.com/

- Terminal and warehouse services will be managed by rotating teams.

- Non-operational personnel have been deployed to work remotely.

Other measures at KWL

- Surface areas are undergoing sanitisation at regular intervals.

- Hand sanitising stations have been installed at all KWL facilities. All staff, customers and other person entering said facilities are required to sanitise before entry. Anyone who opts not to sanitise will not be allowed access to the facilities. As a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, Kingston Wharves is implementing measures to promote social distancing while maintaining service delivery.

- Social distancing – Persons conducting business at KWL facilities are being admitted 20 persons at a time (at each procession stage) to avoid overcrowding.

- Daily safety advisories from the Government of Jamaica authorised agencies are circulated to staff to educate persons on prevention measures.

SAJ support to members

The Shipping Association of Jamaica has issued the following statement: “As a representative organisation of companies that are part of the supply chain of the country, the SAJ is keeping close to the members of the association to understand their challenges and responses and to support their efforts to ensure that the country as a whole can rely on the shipping community for goods and services of a general and critical nature.

“Clearly, this is an evolving situation and while no guarantees can be given, our industry partners are cognisant of the extreme reliance our country places on us to deliver. Hence, member companies are putting in place their own strategies to ensure continuity of their business in the face of the threats posed by the virus.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional guidance as it develops. Our board has established a team to give oversight to our mitigation and response efforts and to learn from the effects of the coronavirus on our industry as a means of strengthening our responses to future threats.”