Port of Santos, the largest in Latin America, will maintain its operations normally despite concerns related to the advancement of the new coronavirus in Brazil, said the president of the Union of Port Operators of the State of São Paulo (Sopesp), which represents companies operating in the area. The statement was made on Wednesday, after meeting with workers and port authorities to discuss measures to combat the spread of the disease, which has become a worldwide pandemic. In a statement sent to Reuters, the president of Sopesp, Regis Prunzel, said that workers support the initiative to maintain operations, although some measures must be taken. “The port maintains the normal operation, this is our position, the port authority itself will also take a position, and the workers are also in agreement and supporting the initiative,” said Prunzel through an audio message. He also said that a crisis committee was created with representatives from all segments that operate in the port, from which the largest portion of coffee, sugar, soy and cotton exports from Brazil are based. The crisis committee will meet again on Friday, said Prunzel, adding that new security measures will be applied to protect the health of people involved in port activities. The day before, a letter sent to the Secretariat of Ports of the Presidency of the Republic by the union that represents the dockworkers in Santos, Guarujá and São Vicente had considered the total stoppage of operations in the port due to the coronavirus crisis. According to Sopesp, the hypothesis is out of the question and was not even considered at this morning’s meeting. Operations at the port of Paranaguá (PR), the second most important in Brazil for agricultural commodities, such as soybeans, were also not interrupted and will continue normally, said one representative to Reuters via telephone. As part of new security measures applied since January at the port, boat captains have an obligation to report any suspicious cases among crew members. All people entering the port area must also present documents attesting to health conditions, added the press office. No suspicious cases were registered in the ships arriving in Paranaguá, according to local authorities.
Source: Portos e Navios/Época Negócios