Q2 2020 Seaports Magazine: ‘Seaports Deliver’ in the Midst of a Once-in-a-Century Pandemic

By Chris Connor, President & CEO
American Association of Port Authorities

As our nation has begun to take steps toward a re-opening of the economy, it is important to call attention to the fact that our ports won’t be re-opening – simply because they never shut down.

I was on a conference call last week hosted by Admiral Mark Buzby, administrator of the Maritime Administration (MARAD). In his remarks, Admiral Buzby stated that he frequently highlights the above point about ports to both Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and the White House.

Cargo never sleeps and ports, for all intents and purposes, are open for business 24-7-365. Sure, there have been some operating hours adjustments made during this crisis, but ports are facilitating the delivery of critical supplies and materials to the front lines of the COVID-19 battlegrounds. Moreover, ports, as a critical component of global and domestic supply chains, are enabling countless millions of citizens throughout the hemisphere to work remotely in the comfort of their own homes – with full access to food products and other sustenance items uninterrupted.

What’s been impressive for me to witness throughout this pandemic has been how port leaders have collaborated to sort through the challenges of port and cargo operations in a COVID-19 environment. The spirit of cooperation and sharing is strong and all ports rally around job one: keeping port workers safe and healthy, and getting critical cargo to the people who need it most. I am honored to be associated with all of our member ports. Regardless of size and scale, commodity focus, or location – there is a common theme among AAPA members of doing what is right for your country and your community. Crises are indeed ‘revealing’ for us as individuals and entities. I take pride in knowing that AAPA’s member ports have shown great strength, resiliency and character throughout this pandemic and will be ever stronger as the coronavirus is tamed and our economies begin to rebound.

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