Mangaluru

Alternative plans put in place as NMPT continues work amid COVID-19 scare

New Mangalore Port Trust in Mangaluru says it prepared a business continuity plan in March itself expecting an outbreak of the contagion.

New Mangalore Port Trust in Mangaluru says it prepared a business continuity plan in March itself expecting an outbreak of the contagion.  

Amid reports of COVID-19 spreading within the premises of New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT), its container re-stacker unit remained non-functional for a couple of days this weekend. However, NMPT authorities denied any operational disruption stating that alternative arrangements were in place already.

It all started when one of the workers at the re-stacker unit was found to be positive for COVID-19 on Friday. After this, other workers were hesitant to come to work. The situation would have had an adverse impact on the port’s functioning, including import and export of container cargo.

As many as four coastal container vessels and one foreign vessel call on NMPT every week, while the port is witnessing a steady growth in container traffic.

NMPT Chairman A.V. Ramana told The Hindu that despite strict adherence to standard operating practices, the first COVID-19 positive case was reported in the fire department of the port on July 17 due to reverse ingress of workers and community spread of the disease in Dakshina Kannada.

The patient was a primary contact of an infected person from outside NMPT. All subsequent contacts were isolated and tested for COVID-19 that in turn showed 13 positive cases. NMPT has quarantined them and their primary contacts as well, Mr. Ramana said.

System in place

Mr. Ramana said that expecting an outbreak of the contagion, NMPT had prepared a business continuity plan in March itself.

The plan covers splitting workers into teams and working from different buildings in different locations. Exclusive arrangement with private laboratories for mass testing of field staff was also made.

The period between July 15 and August-end appears to be challenging for NMPT as many of the staff staying outside the port premises aere getting infected. Similar problems were being faced by other mega industries in the region.

The port had allowed the use of private cargo handling equipment by stevedores from open market without depending on port-owned equipment anticipating these issues.

NMPT Hospital is also ready to handle the emerging situation and it is roping in additional doctors on short-term contract. Mr. Ramana said that NMPT operations were not affected till date, while it has arranged buses for exclusive ferrying of staff on emergency duty.

As in the past, NMPT continues to accommodate fishing vessels on its premises during the monsoon.

A make-shift gate was provided with Customs approval, without mixing fishermen and regular port users.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 10:59:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/alternative-plans-put-in-place-as-nmpt-continues-work-amid-covid-19-scare/article32132417.ece

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