The Busan Port Authority and related organizations reacted swiftly and efficiently to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, ensuring zero cases of infection to community spread due to activity at Busan’s Gamcheon Port.
When the first ship with confirmed Coronavirus cases on board arrived at Busan’s Gamcheon Port, cargo handling at the port was suspended for 11 days. There was an increase in anxiety among port workers which led to port labor unions suspending the provision of 340 dock workers to the east pier. Together with local government and related organizations, the Busan Port Authority responded by implementing a range of safety measures to safeguard the wellbeing and livelihood of port labor, and maintain a zero spread of Coronavirus from incoming vessels into the community.
The implemented measures included:
- Immediate transfer of any vessel with confirmed cases on board to a specially allocated quarantine zone at the Yeongdo Cruise Terminal, 15minutes of drive away.
- First ever introduction of electronic QR code access to the port, strengthening safety and security of port labor.
- Operation of real-time information sharing platform on Covid-19 and vessels arriving at Gamcheon Port.
- Barrier-free and proactive cooperation between relevant government agencies to ensure uninterrupted port operation.
- Introduction of new, “Port-Through Corona Testing” technology (e.g. contact-free diagnostic test, using drones to collect crew masks) through regional, academic, and industry cooperation.
As a result, despite 121 confirmed cases of Coronavirus among incoming sea crews to Gamcheon Port, there have been no recorded cases of resulting community infection. In addition, thanks to the safe continuation of cargo handling activity at Busan Gamcheon Port when other ports were unable to operate, the port saw a 27.7% increase in handled frozen and refrigerated cargo, the largest jump in 5 years. Furthermore, the stable port management during the Corona crisis resulted in non-stop port operations and stabilization of 16,000 jobs.