Entrepreneurs in the port are wondering whether their activities are also part of a vital process or whether they employ people who work in a crucial occupation – which in turn leads to the question whether these employees are entitled to child care during the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.
In response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, the Dutch government has identified a number of crucial occupations and vital processes in the Netherlands that need to be maintained. Which occupations and processes are deemed vital by the national authorities, can be read here.
The handling of shipping has been qualified as a vital process by the government. The Harbour Master’s Division of the Port of Rotterdam Authority has been identified as a vital provider of shipping handling services.
The shipping handling process in a broad sense needs to be maintained
The government has not included specific aspects of the handling of shipping in its classification as a vital process. Our main priority is ensuring that the shipping handling process is maintained in its totality. That is why the vital shipping handling process can be understood to encompass more than solely the activities of the Harbour Master’s Division. In the view of the Harbour Master’s Division, the vital process of shipping handling comprises:
(A) Shipping handling and directly-related port processes; and
(B) The associated hinterland transport processes and warehousing.
After all, if the chain process is not executed in its entirety, this will lead to congestion in the port and its entrance area and result in market shortages. This in turn will disrupt the safe and swift handling of shipping traffic and destabilise society as a whole.
That is why the Harbour Master believes it is crucial to ensure that all chain processes subsidiary to shipping handling are maintained. Occupational groups that are active within these chain processes and all individuals who fulfil an indispensable role within these chain processes are entitled to child care facilities during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In view of the aforementioned, the Harbour Master’s Division has determined that the process of shipping handling at any rate includes – but is not limited to – the following chain processes:
• Handling of shipping by the Harbour Master’s Division;
• Handling of shipping and nautical services (patrol and emergency response vessels, linesmen, towing services, pilots, lashers);
• Port and inland terminals for the unloading, loading, storage and handling of cargo;
• Distribution/warehousing and hinterland connections, including inland shipping, rail and road transport and the traffic control services required in this context;
• Companies and organisations that support the necessary infrastructure and patrol and emergency response vessels with regard to availability, incident management, safety measures and equipment, environmental protection and maintenance;
• Companies and organisations that bear responsibility for the availability, maintenance and fault clearing of systems and platforms required for shipping handling, including the prediction of water levels and current velocities, VTS, VHF and hydro-meteorological information, telephone systems and the Port Community System.
The Port of Rotterdam Authority is of the opinion that the industrial processes in the port complex are also vital since, without the important process of industrial production in the port of Rotterdam, many essential goods would no longer be available. Whether or not a process should be classified as vital and the consequences of this qualification are dependent on developments in society. At present, we are unable to make any statements about the situation in the event of a further spread of the COVID-19 virus – which could potentially necessitate a complete lockdown, for example. For this reason, please keep an eye on the website of the Port of Rotterdam Authority for updates or subscribe to our newsletter. This ensures that you will be automatically notified of any new developments.