COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update - 3/26/2020

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COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) UPDATE

March 26, 2020

Georgia’s ports remain open for business! The GPA would like to thank our employees, the State of Georgia and many partners, including the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard, stevedores, trucking community and river pilots for pulling together to keep our ports moving ahead full steam. Please know we appreciate this teamwork and the collective effort during this challenging time. Together we will sustain trade for our communities, our state and our nation.


March 24, 2020

Dear friends & colleagues,

Amid the global disruptions related to COVID-19, the GPA is receiving numerous calls and emails seeking answers to two basic questions. First, customers are requesting to know if our ports are open and will remain operational. Second, does the GPA have additional storage space, if required. I would like to take a moment to answer both of these questions.

Georgia’s ports continue steady operation with normal, 24-hour vessel operations and terminal services, as well as Monday-Friday truck gate hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Savannah.

To keep cargo moving smoothly, we have implemented an “Isolate and Operate” strategy. The 1,300-acre size of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal is enabling our Leadership Team to spread our workers out and minimize the risk of possible exposure.

Operationally, we are redesigning staffing and procedures, such as assigning operators to specific cranes and having them report directly to the machinery. All break rooms and group meeting areas have been closed.

As a preventive measure, GPA is providing disinfectants to equipment operators, who have been instructed to wipe down their controls at the beginning and end of each shift. We are implementing deep cleaning of equipment and facilities. Additionally, GPA is strongly encouraging all employees to practice thorough handwashing and social distancing at work and at home.

Where possible, staff members are telecommuting. In fact, our entire customer service team is working offsite via technology that was established at GPA in case of hurricanes.

Our Leadership and Operations teams remain on terminal to ensure this vitally important gateway continues to run smoothly. Because this is a time for the port community to come together, we are also in continuous communication with our colleagues at neighboring ports to determine best practices.

Our partners at the International Longshoremen’s Association have started monitoring the temperature of union members as they report to work.  Those with a temperature or other symptoms of illness will be sent home. The Authority is also securing equipment to start temperature monitoring of port employees prior to shift.

Using our Isolate and Operate strategy, we are working day and night to protect our employees, our partners in the ILA and all the truckers, contractors, vendors and others who work on our terminals daily.

Looking forward, I want to reassure you we are well positioned to deliver powerful support, assisting the flow of import/export cargo, and empty return containers.

As the country’s third busiest port complex, we clearly understand the importance of keeping our ports operational through this crisis to support the needs of our customers and the nation. Because of recently completed projects that are now coming online, our container terminal has additional storage space, and we stand prepared to meet our customers’ needs at the challenging time.

The GPA would like to thank our employees, the State of Georgia and many partners, including the ILA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, stevedores, the trucking community and river pilots for pulling together to keep our ports moving full steam ahead.

Sincerely,

Griff Lynch
Executive Director, Georgia Ports Authority


March 23, 2020

As of March 23, 2020, the GPA Credentialing Center is open but operating under modified conditions. In alignment with guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), Credentialing is adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Effective immediately, Credentialing will only service one visitor at a time. Please follow the instructions provided by the staff. We appreciate everyone’s patience and support. Any questions or concerns related to Credentialing, please call: Savannah (912) 963-5539 and Brunswick (912) 280-6943

GPA will continue to monitor the situation and should there be any changes to above we will advise further at that time.

Should you have any questions, please contact our Client Relations Center at (912) 963-5526 or email csv@gaports.com.

**For text alerts providing updates for weather, road, port operations etc.:

  Text GPAUSER to 888-777**


March 18, 2020

Georgia’s ports remain open for business! The GPA would like to thank our employees, the State of Georgia and many partners, including the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard, stevedores, trucking community and river pilots for pulling together to keep our ports moving ahead full steam. Please know we appreciate this teamwork and the collective effort during this challenging time. Together we will sustain trade for our communities, our state and our nation.

 


March 16, 2020

Dear Port Users:

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Georgia Ports Authority is working on all fronts to ensure the safety of daily port users in and around our facilities.

GPA is implementing protocols to maintain the well-being of our employees and stakeholders, while maintaining the essential functions of Georgia’s deepwater ports.

GPA is coordinating with federal, state and local partners including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, along with other emergency and public health agencies.

The Authority has postponed all in-person meetings until further notice.

As a precaution, GPA has also suspended travel for port employees, port tours and non-essential visitors. In addition, the Coast Guard has forwarded precautionary information to vessel owners/operators and local stakeholders.

The GPA is communicating directly with employees and other logistics professionals serving our ports to encourage increased awareness of health safety. GPA encourages all port customers using its facilities to follow the health and safety protocols established by the CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health. Protocols include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue in a lined trashcan.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, tables, desks, and handrails.
  • Use non-contact methods of greeting.
  • Individuals who are experiencing symptoms and may have traveled to areas of concern or have been in contact with someone who has traveled to these areas should call ahead to their healthcare provider before presenting for treatment.

We want to thank our stakeholders for your efforts in a time when we are all anxious. We can work calmly and confidently through this challenge. GPA will provide updates across our social media channels, gaports.com and text alerts regarding COVID-19 protocols in the days and weeks ahead as we move through this together.

Thank you,
Georgia Ports Authority

**For text alerts providing updates for weather, road, port operations etc.: Text GPAUSER to 888-777**

Informational Links:


March 13, 2020

Dear Customer,

The Georgia Ports Authority is in close communication with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard to ensure the security of port operations and personnel. GPA Board and staff travel has been temporarily restricted, except when required, and all travel to infected areas, curtailed.

GPA encourages all port customers using its facilities to make themselves aware of the health and safety protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health. Should you have questions or concerns about preventing the spread of the coronavirus, please consult:

GPA has temporarily discontinued Saturday truck gate hours, however, uninterrupted service at all of our terminals continues Monday through Friday. Schedules for vessel operations, terminal services, and intermodal rail activities at the ports of Savannah and Brunswick carry on as usual.

Although we have experienced a precipitous drop in imports, bookings on the water show a strong increase, which is an important leading indicator for a return to normalcy. Another positive factor for Savannah is increased demand from importers, with projects coming online such as new distribution centers supplying U.S. factories for domestic production.

Further, GPA is receiving multiple reports that indicate Chinese supply lines and factories are resuming normal production.

GPA employs 1,360 people, mostly at the ports of Savannah and Brunswick. Tens of thousands of additional workers are employed by shipping and trucking companies. The GPA is communicating directly with employees and other logistics professionals serving our ports to encourage increased consciousness of health safety.

Thank you,

Georgia Ports Authority