Shipping firms lament pandemic sidelining

By Doan Loan   September 19, 2021 | 06:57 am PT
Shipping firms lament pandemic sidelining
Containers being handled at Quy Nhon Port in Binh Dinh Province. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Duy
Shipping firms feel hassled by low vaccination rates and the limited number of road permits for workers. They are requesting more attention and priority policies.

The Vietnam Maritime Corporation has around 4,000 crew members, but only 10 percent of them have been vaccinated, its General Director Nguyen Canh Tinh said at an online meeting on Friday. Since ships operate for a long time at sea, those who contract Covid-19 cannot access onshore medical facilities, he noted.

One person testing positive might put the remaining crew members, more than 20, usually, at risk of infection.

Duong Ngoc Tu, Deputy Director of Vinaship Shipping Company, said that Quang Ninh has issued a rule that people from outside the province must have a valid PCR test certificate and be fully vaccinated with two vaccine doses. The percentage of members getting two injections is very low, though.

Travel permits are another problem for maritime enterprises.

Hoang Hong Giang, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Maritime Administration, said that in Ho Chi Minh City and some localities, only 10 percent of maritime firms' employees have got travel permits, making deliveries difficult.

Transport Minister Nguyen Van The asked local authorities to prioritize Covid-19 vaccination for seamen. He also said 70-80 percent of maritime firms should get travel permits.

Seaports handled 481 million tons of cargo in the first eight months of the year, up 4 percent over the same period in 2020.

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