Operators at the Nigerian seaports have emphasized the need for the nation’s ports to remain open at all times while the Federal and State governments battle to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Vicky Haastrup, who stated this in a statement explained: “As we face the global public health crisis birthed by the Coronavirus disease, otherwise known as COVID-19, we advise the government to ensure that the supply chain is not disrupted and the seaports keep running.

“Even if other sectors of the economy are shut down to guard against the spread of the virus, the seaports should remain open to ensure that there is no shortage of food, drugs and other essential supply to Nigerians.”

Haastrup in her statement emphasized that the shipping sector was key in contributing to secure the continuity of economic activities, ensuring supply chains to industries; transport of essential goods, including energy and food supplies, and transport of vital medical and protective equipment, and supplies,

She said: “It is imperative for the fight against COVID-19, the supply of essentials, as well as for increasing the chance of the economic recovery on the other side of the outbreak, that maritime and connected transport is allowed to continue, and that government works actively to support the sector throughout the period of the crisis.

“The continued functionality of the ports and port ecosystems is imperative for securing the movement of goods at scale, for prevention of shortages and thus for maintenance of public order.