Corona and the port

In the port and logistics sector, this year will remain in history as truly exceptional. In the first half of the year, we were hit by forest industry strikes, the impact of which seemed to be even more serious than that of the coronavirus. At the same time, both industrial and shipping companies spelled doom by the virus to the extent that we were already preparing for extensive austerity measures due to an unprecedented shortage of cargo and containers, plus a lack of space on ocean-going vessels. I would venture to say that to everyone’s surprise, these horrors have not materialised, at least not yet.

I am writing this in late May. After a difficult early spring, the processing volumes have positively surprised both customers and us. It gives faith that the future will be better. Operationally, everything has gone well so far. The virus banished practically the entire industry home to work, as far as it could be done, and it is amazing how well everything has worked! Occasionally, you wonder what the office is needed for.

It is impossible to do stevedoring work remotely, but the safety measures taken so far have worked, keeping our terminals operating as usual.

A lot of pulp and board, with demand for both constantly growing, passes through our ports, which explains the reasonable goods volumes handled at our terminals. On the other hand, we must live with information that changes almost daily, and it is not easy to predict what will happen in the coming weeks or months. Nevertheless, we are currently training summer employees at all our units, equipping new straddle carriers, and taking over depot operations in Kotka at both the ro-ro and container terminals. This, if anything, is an optimistic message for the future.

Happy summer!

Tapio Mattila

About Author

Tapio Mattila

Mr. Tapio Mattila works as Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales, and as a Unit Manager in container operations at Steveco.