AAPA Annual Ports Day Focuses on COVID-19 Response
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) and its membership will commemorate Western Hemisphere Ports Day on April 5 again this year. The annual event recognizes the port industry’s role in efficient goods movement, job creation and propelling the economy in nations they serve across the Americas.
This year’s Ports Day theme, On The Front Lines, focuses on the current COVID-19 global pandemic response and recovery. It’s a recognition of the dedication, sacrifice and professionalism of the port industry workforce in their collective efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus while ensuring a steady flow of vital goods and services.
In the U.S. alone, more than 642,000 maritime-industry professionals are working to ensure that cargo and cruise and ferry travelers move efficiently through the nation’s ports. Through passenger and crew screenings, vessel quarantines and other measures, seaports are committed to “flattening the curve,” both domestically and among their country’s critical trade partners around the world.
“In this time of uncertainty and fear about what to expect next, port workers and their logistics partners are laboring around the clock to keep vital consumer goods, medical supplies, energy and raw materials moving,” said Chris Connor, AAPA president and CEO. “While taking all necessary precautions against spreading the virus themselves, our maritime workforce continues to deliver vital goods and services, ship exports, and connect farmers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers to the global marketplace.”
Connor added, “As families, businesses and communities begin to recover from the crisis we’re all facing, our member ports are ready to deliver the products you need and want, keep your shopping cart filled, and take whatever actions are needed to support a strong, stable economy.”
Seaports throughout the hemisphere are honoring the occasion in different ways … from calling out individual port employees for their selfless efforts during the COVID-19 crisis and creating “Ports Day” t-shirts for staff to wear, to posting messages on social media of their crisis response efforts and various contributions to their communities.
According to IHS Markit’s GTA Forecasting (previously known as IHS World Trade Service), combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere seaports in 2018 totaled nearly 4.2 billion metric tons in volume and $3.7 trillion in value. Of that combined total, seaports in Central and South America handled 1.86 billion metric tons of cargo valued at $1.17 trillion, while North American seaports handled 2.34 billion metric tons of goods, valued at $2.53 trillion.
Within North America, U.S. seaports handled 1.01 billion metric tons of international trade valued at $1.95 trillion, while Canada’s seaports handled 380.53 million metric tons of goods valued at $266.67 billion, and Mexico’s seaports handled 352.53 million metric tons of cargo valued at $312.91 billion.
“It doesn’t matter if you live near a seaport or in the middle of the country,” said Connor, “the products you depend on and goods your nation exports primarily move through ports. Quite simply, ports are an indispensable aspect of our lives and livelihoods.
“We encourage you to take a moment to think about the role ports play in your life, your community and the economy, then use the hashtags #SeaportsDeliver and #SeaportsUnited to post your thoughts about ports on social media.”