According to Elvir Dzanic, Gothenburg Port Authority chief executive, operations at the Port of Gothenburg – where the first critical measures to counteract the effects of the Coronavirus were taken back at the beginning of February – have remained stable.
“Reassuringly, absenteeism due to illness is still low and the figure at the Port Authority is just 5-6 per cent. On the whole, we are continuing at full capacity, both at the Port Authority and at the terminals, although with due observance of the situation.”
Nonetheless, even if the port is still running as normal, a slowdown in volumes has already begun or is anticipated, depending on the segment. The Container Terminal is working at full capacity for all flows, and both feeder traffic and oceangoing traffic will carry on as normal over the Easter period. Export volumes and access to empty containers are being maintained, whilst a delayed Coronavirus effect from China is beginning to filter through on the import side.
The Ro-Ro Terminal and Car Terminal were very busy at the beginning of the year but are now feeling the repercussions of the production stoppage at the Volvo companies. New vehicles, along with components and input goods, are falling in volume both on the import and export side. At the Energy Port, volumes remain high although the refineries are reporting a drop in demand.
The ferry and cruise segments have been hit extremely hard by the travel ban, which has been put into effect worldwide. Stena Line has exceptionally low passenger numbers but is still operating at full capacity on the freight side. The cruise segment was looking forward to its best year ever with a record number of visits and passengers. Visits have been cancelled on an ongoing basis and this is set to continue for some time to come.
“The situation is looking ominous in the immediate future in the wake of the Coronavirus, although I’m impressed by how the port cluster is reacting. They’re acting proactively and planning for the challenging times ahead. Tough decisions will need to be made if we are to adapt, deal with events as they happen, and serve our customers effectively,” said Elvir Dzanic.
“Despite everything, we can see indications of a turnaround in the time ahead. Our task at the moment is to weather the storm and I’m proud of how we are continuing to identify opportunities, act positively, and address the current situation and its impact as best we can.”