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April 27, 2020 10:15 AM, EDT

Port Authorities Commit to Stay Open Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Shipping containers stand near empty docking terminals at the Port of Singapore on March 27.Shipping containers stand near empty docking terminals at the Port of Singapore on March 27. (Lauryn Ishak/Bloomberg News)

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Twenty port authorities in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America signed a declaration committing to stay open amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Initiated by Singapore, the declaration calls for ports to boost collaboration so that operations are undisturbed, according to an April 24 statement. Members of the Port Authorities Roundtable that signed the declaration include Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Rotterdam, Tokyo and Los Angeles.

Restrictions on crews are among the unprecedented challenges wrought by the virus, which has ground major economies to a halt. At risk is the flow of goods such as food, medicine and energy via commercial shipping, which accounts for about 80% of global trade.

The declaration ensures that merchant ships can continue to berth at ports and keep global supply chains operating; best practices are adopted, including safe procedures for ship crew and shore personnel; and port authorities continue to share experiences in combating the virus while safeguarding unimpeded trade.

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