Todd Dawson, CEO Napier Port: Delta is a game-changer
Delta is a game-changer.
Until recently, our focus at Napier Port has been on preventing Covid-19 coming in through our marine border, keeping our people safe and the Hawke’s Bay community isolated from the risk of exposure to this deadly disease.
That thinking and approach are now outdated.
There will, in reality, be further outbreaks of Delta or other variants of Covid-19 within our community, and they will come from both the land and the sea.
The Delta variant has spread beyond Auckland and it will be carried by people travelling between regions. It’s almost inevitable, and imminent, that it will arrive in Hawke’s Bay via the land. We know that Delta is arriving into NZ on ships already – we have seen this occur on a number of occasions.
As a family man, as someone who chooses to live in Hawke’s Bay, and as CEO of a port, I don’t want Delta wreaking havoc on our community,
Wearing my CEO hat, and expecting that we will have to operate with Delta in our community, and therefore the risk of it coming into our workplace, creates an obligation for Napier Port to eliminate health and safety risks as far as reasonably practicable for our employees and port users.
And if we can’t eliminate the risks, then we must at least minimise them as far as reasonably practicable.
What would the impact be on Hawke’s Bay if Napier Port had to close due to a Covid-19 case or cluster?
Our main imports are foodstuffs, cement, general cargo, fertiliser and oil products. Exports are logs, pipfruit, wood pulp, timber and meat.
Many of these have a natural catchment and New Zealand simply doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to seamlessly move products along the supply chain without ports.
We are a country, and a region, that needs our ports open. International trade makes up about 60 per cent of New Zealand’s total economic activity.
Unless we want to live with the consequences of ports closing their gates, we have to start preparing for and expecting to operate the port safely with Delta amongst us.
One of the best things about Napier Port is it’s a community of people who take pride in our work connecting Hawke’s Bay, and they are always willing to contribute to solutions.
We are now consulting with our workforce and port users to determine how Napier Port stays safe, open and operational with Delta in our community.
We are asking our people for their views on mandatory vaccination of all employees (not just the frontline team) and port users. We’re consulting on port access and segregation controls and potentially implementing our own operating alert levels within our port sites.
Mandatory testing is another critical layer of protection we’re consulting on. Our first Napier Port-owned rapid saliva testing unit arrived this week. It’s the first of its kind in the region and will allow us to test people at our port sites and get a result within 30 minutes.
We have robust safety processes for managing and working ships with Delta on board because we believe we’ll be living with it in the community. Operating Napier Port under that scenario will become the reality for all of us.
Closing Napier Port isn’t an option unless we want to close our region.
Ensuring effective controls and adequate protections are in place to eliminate or minimise risk is required. And not just within the port, but across our whole region.
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Sustainability aligned with global goals:
At the United Nations summit meeting in September 2015, world leaders adopted 17 global goals (and 169 targets) as a set of universal goals that aim to address the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world. These are known as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
More information on the SDGs and how Napier Port’s Sustainability Strategy aligns to these can be found here >>
Good Health And Well-being
Clean Water and Sanitation
Affordable and Clean Energy
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Industry Innovation and Infrastructure
Sustainable Cities and Communities
Responsible Consumption and Production
Life Below Water
Life on Land
Peace Justice and Strong Institutions
Partnerships for The Goals