To: EBIS Members
To: EBIS Members
CC: EBIS Board
Rotterdam, March 20, 2020Dear EBIS members,
Referring to our letter of March 13, we would like to inform you again about the rapidly evolving and worrying topic COVID-19.
The transport of dangerous goods (fuels especially) has been mentioned by various governments as “essential activities” for our society.
In the light of the Corona crisis our society is currently cancelling everything which is not absolutely necessary both in professional as in private life. This stop has the aim to minimize human contacts and so to minimize the risks of infection as much as possible. Schools, shops and restaurants are closed and every inhabitant is asked to apply “social distance” strictly. Most people meanwhile work at home to avoid contacts and spread of the virus.
At the same time we are undertaking great efforts to ensure business continuity. There are a number of challenges that we need to overcome and we are sure that these can be mastered by cooperation, understanding and flexibility. For this we also ask you for your cooperation.
Our biggest concern is the health of our crews. As long as crews stay on their barge they are relatively well protected, it can be considered as some sort of isolation or quarantine.
The risks of infection rise with every contact at load and discharge ports, with every person coming on board. As stated above we must minimize these contacts as much as possible to ensure the health of crews and with them the business continuity both for your as for our business.
The barge industry associations in cooperation with the Platform Zero Incidents conducted a Risk Assessment with various HSSE-experts. The risks, in terms of potential spreading of the virus and its results, far outweighs the benefit of an updated barge-risk-assessment-report.
Besides, the international labor working legislation stresses the company owners to organize the work in such safe way that people are protected from hazards during their work as much as possible. They have the legal obligation to take care of a safe working place in which risks have to be inventorized and be mitigated.
Taking the latest developments and measures by the authorities into account our industry is of the opinion that it is better to avoid conducting EBIS/BIRE-inspections for the time being, until the responsible authorities inform us that the Corona virus is under control.
To keep the possibility open and to be as flexible as possible in a safe way, we ask you, based on the applicable information of today, to consider a temporary flexible 4-months window for barges, which are overdue and cannot be inspected, for any reasons.
We ask all members in the logistic (trading) chain to consider extra flexibility in the current “force majeure “ situation.
The barge industry is fully prepared to jointly discuss further steps and to cooperate in solving the issues for all parties concerned.