‘Thank you, enforcers, for thinking along!’

Marco Tak, Managing Director of the Association of Rotterdam Shipbrokers and Agents (VRC), wishes to thank a number of enforcement agencies, including Dutch Customs, ILT, NVWA and the Seaport Police, for their flexibility and willingness to think along during the corona crisis.

'Take the legal requirement to submit original certificates with the relevant stamps within the stipulated term, for example. If this term proves temporarily unmanageable during the present corona crisis – with sending airmail having become next to impossible, for instance – we can make do for the moment with a PDF copy via email, and submit the original document slightly later than required. This makes it a lot easier for us to continue our operations. The enforcement agencies are offering us more leeway, in other words – although still within the confines of the law, of course. And we shouldn’t abuse this freedom,' warns Tak. VRC is engaged in bilateral consultations with the enforcing agencies to come up with effective solutions for operational problems created by the outbreak of the virus. 'In some cases, these solutions are even tailor-made,' says Tak.

'For VRC, it is very important that the physical boarding of vessels by government agencies is minimized as far as possible,' emphasises Tak. 'The agencies have heeded our call, which means that contact moments between enforcers and crew members – and consequently the risk of spreading the coronavirus – can be kept to a bare minimum. Some flexibility is required when it comes to enforcing legally established procedural terms. Where possible this is taken into account, based on good communication between the ship’s agent and the government agency in question.'

Update corona virus

Despite the far-reaching social impact of the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), the port of Rotterdam will remain operational. Cargo handling and production will continue unabated. The Harbour Master Division is monitoring safety and public order on the water 24/7. The Port of Rotterdam Authority is carefully complying with the recommendations of national authorities in the field of health and safety, and we have taken steps to safeguard the continuity of business operations.

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