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Port of London operational focus – COVID-19 response

23 March 2020

In the last few weeks we have seen increasing measures taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus.  At the Port of London Authority (PLA) we are doing all we can to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our operations, so that essential fuel, food and other necessities continue to be available to families across London, the south east and more widely.
Ensuring the health and wellbeing of our teams is our primary concern and doing so will enable us to continue delivering our essential services.  The principal operational steps we have taken to minimise the risk of the virus spreading to PLA employees include:
  • the closure of our main port control centre and navigation centre at the Thames Barrier to non-essential visitors;
  • revised working procedures to minimise pilots’ contact with other staff;
  • checks to ensure vessels entering the port have submitted health declarations;
  • further segregation for other key groups including boat crews, the navigation systems team, marine services personnel, our civil engineers and marine engineers; 
  • additional cleaning of handrail, doors, shared equipment and other shared space; 
  • all office-based support services such as legal and finance moving as far as possible to home working, with a skeleton office presence where essential; and
  • appropriate arrangements for staff who fall into the identified vulnerable groups.
Our Executive Committee is meeting daily (using technology so this can be done remotely) to monitor and adjust our response to the developing situation.  
The Port of London is one of the two largest ports in the UK by tonnage of goods handled. The services we provide are a key part of many supply chains, playing a vital role in all our daily lives. We will take further steps as the situation evolves to sustain our essential services, working closely with our customers, the UK Government, London Port Health Authority and other key stakeholders.  
In line with Government guidelines, all large stakeholder events we had planned for the next 12 weeks have been cancelled or postponed. We will be using online channels to maintain dialogue, and share information, with stakeholders in the meantime.  
If you have any questions about how we are responding to this unprecedented challenge, do please get in touch. We will continue to update you with news as and when the situation changes.
You can keep in touch with PLA updates via our website www.pla.co.uk, Twitter (@LondonPortAuth), Facebook and LinkedIn.