By: Joyce Mercês
Marketing & Strategic Partnerships Specialist - Porto do Açu
Porto do Açu is the largest fully private port, industrial and energy asset within Brazil. The port is strategically located in São João da Barra, in the north of Rio de Janeiro state. Operating since 2014, the port plays an important role in the Brazilian international trade and the provision of resources and energy required by the southeast region of Brazil. Moreover, regarding corporate social responsibility, the port embraces its role as a strategic community-builder.
Driven by one of Açu’ core values, collaboration, the port has taken on a leadership position in the study and benchmark of important measures to respond Covid-19 crisis, cooperating with a wide range of national and international partners, including its sister-ports of Port Houston, Port of Antwerp and Port of Guangzhou. Since the first signs of the pandemic, the port started to map out the challenges and apply preventive measures in order to maintain the port operational and safeguard the health and safety of its workers and the local community.
Acknowledging and praising Porto do Açu´s efforts in this domain, the port was invited to be Chair of the Covid-19 taskforce on April 2nd by the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) through its Director of International Business & Innovation, Tessa Major (currently also IAPH Vice-President for South and Central America). IAPH is a globally renown organization that represents more than 200 ports in approximately 90 countries worldwide, including Indian ports such as Mumbai Ports Trust.
The taskforce aims to analyze and manage the impacts of Covid-19 on the international port industry and since its establishment, the working group has engaged in several discussions to provide best practices and recommendations for the global port community. An economic impact barometer is also bi-weekly published with trends and indicators on crucial port issues. All materials are updated on a weekly basis and are available online at the special page on the World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP) website called “World Ports Covid-19 Information portal” (https://sustainableworldports.org/world-ports-covid19-information-portal/).
Guided by its core values and by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Porto do Açu has also engaged itself in various humanitarian actions in order to support their local community. Besides a Crisis Committee, Porto do Açu also set up a Committee on Social Responsibility and Humanitarian Affairs to define, prioritize and implement the supporting activities in the surrounding communities of Campos dos Goytacazes and São João da Barra. In order to maximize results, a regular dialogue with the local authorities has been established in order to ensure synergetic actions.
In the area of preventive measures, they started with the spread of information in a very accessible way to reach the largest number of people possible throughout social media, local radio stations and cellphone applications. Regarding humanitarian actions, Porto do Açu’s committee, composed by Porto do Açu Operações, Açu Petróleo, GNA and Ferroport, has engaged in the repair and maintenance of 37 medical ventilators destined for the local health units from São João da Barra and Campos dos Goytacazes in partnership with the National Service of Industrial Training (Senai). To support health professionals, the port also donated more than 100,000 essential items as gloves, masks, protection glasses and aprons to local hospitals and raw materials to enable local manufacturers to produce more than 5,000 face masks. Also concerned with the surroundings’ population, Açu’s committee donated more than 12,000 masks to the local community for daily use and fix 13 medical devices in São João da Barra (as monitors, defibrillators and ultrasound).
The companies participating in the port community also joined these encouraging activities and donated more than 4 tons of vegetables to 13 local charity institutions. These products were acquired from family farms and the distribution is carried out in partnership with the Municipal Secretary of Agriculture Secretary.
Recently, Açu’s committee joined the program “Ciência IDOR” against the Covid-19 supporting the “D’Or Institute of Research and Education” in partnership with Equinor and SBM Offshore. This initiative is leaded by the Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuel Institute (IBP) and holds two areas of activities. The first one includes clinical research to identify prognostic factors and the most effective treatments for the coronavírus. The second one is called “Dados do bem”, a monitoring project to follow-up the epidemic’s evolution in the urban centers in order to contribute to the set-up of public policies.
Moving forward with the activities, Gás Natural Açu, a company located at the port and responsible for the development of the largest thermopower plant in Latin America, will also designate approximately 2.8 million reais. The amount will be used entirely for the acquisition of medical supplies for the community of São João da Barra.
Porto do Açu was born with collaboration as one of its main values. Working in close collaboration with its stakeholders and community is part of the Açu’s DNA. Therefore, the port will continue its operations respecting its social responsibility, confident in a better scenario for Brazil and the world in the near future.
Marketing & Strategic Partnerships Specialist