According to the news portal PortStrategy, due to the Ebola outbreak concerns have been escalating over the effects on operations at ports in South Africa, South America and the Ivory Coast. There are reports that vessels calling at ports hit by Ebola are being turned away from disease free countries, resulting in schedule disruption and delays.
Consequenty shippers and carriers are making alterations to their port calls and schedules, which will impact affected terminals. For example, Maersk Line has made alterations to its network in West Africa to comply with vessel call restrictions.
It has delisted Conakry and Freetown from its WAF13 rotation, leaving only a call at Dakar in Senegal. The WAF13 schedule currently has a rotation of Algeciras/Tangier/Dakar/Algeciras.
Michael Christian Storgaard, Maersk Line, told Port Strategy that the Ebola crisis is resulting in more direct calls in the carrier’s schedules. Bans and restrictions are fluid, so the network is subject to change. He underlined that cargo acceptance is not impacted and only a few delays if any are expected, thus impact to customers is minimal.
Meanwhile, also in the west of Africa, Nigeria has confirmed its first Ebola death outside Lagos – a doctor in the oil hub of Port Harcourt. As a result, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has tasked the Federal Government to police the country’s borders and ports so that the further spread of Ebola can be averted.
Despite this, Nigerian authorities still maintain that operations at Nigeria’s main Port of Lagos are unaffected, but that ships calling from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia may still not be allowed to enter other ports in the country.
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