MSC, a leading transportation and logistics company, welcomes initiatives such as Belgium’s efforts to vaccinate all seafarers who visit Belgian ports. Antwerp is a strategic location for MSC and seafarers on many MSC ships will now be able to take advantage of the programme.
Following a successful COVID-19 vaccination campaign aimed at Belgian seafarers, Belgium is now extending their vaccination programme to cover all seafarers arriving in Belgium. This recent example follows other initiatives already in place such as in the U.S. as well as in the UK, the Netherlands and Greece.
Lack of vaccinations has become an additional obstacle to seafarers who are already bearing the heavy toll of the restrictions set by the pandemic. Many continue to be stuck at sea risking serious issues to their physical and mental well-being. By ensuring priority vaccines for seafarers, governments can positively contribute to resolving the ongoing crew change crisis that has spiralled into a humanitarian crisis at sea.
Marc Beerlandt, Managing Director MSC Belgium said: “MSC would like to thank the Belgian government, the Royal Belgian shipowners’ Association and the Antwerp maritime community for offering critical support for the international seafarers community. Lack of access to COVID-19 vaccinations has been putting global supply chains under increasing pressure. With the global movement of crew already heavily restricted, and hundreds of thousands of seafarers who have kept the world moving amid COVID-19 lockdowns still stuck at sea, lack of access to vaccines risks serious disruption to global supply chains.”
“It’s critical for global trade and supply chains that governments recognise all seafarers as key workers and prioritise them for vaccinations and this initiative perfectly demonstrates the importance that the Belgian government attaches to the Flemish port economy, ” he continues.
Besides being a strategic location for MSC in Europe, Belgium means a lot to the company as it is where it all started for MSC. Today, both MSC and the Port of Antwerp play an important role in the local economy. In addition to the ocean liner business, which connects this vital European gateway to the rest of the world, MSC also offers customers a range of dedicated intermodal services between Antwerp and major business centres in Northern Europe and beyond.