Fostering a Safe Working Environment at the Port

March 23, 2020

As we all continue to navigate through an unprecedented environment, be assured that The Port of Virginia is taking significant steps to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for our colleagues, partners and stakeholders.

Our public message regarding COVID-19, originally published on March 13 and subsequently updated, can be found here (yellow banner on our website):  COVID-19 Preparedness

In mid-March, we contracted with SERVPRO, a premier cleaning and restoration company.  A team of 12 SERVPRO contractors is now working with our existing vendors – 7 days per week, 10 hours per day – to clean and disinfect equipment, doors, buildings and surfaces across our terminals.  This includes the Drivers’ Assistance buildings at NIT and VIG.

From the individual driver’s perspective, the following actions should be well received:

  1. As of Monday, March 23, bio-metric reading will be temporarily halted at NIT and VIG (all gates)
    • Federal access requirements will be met through a visual check – matching the photo on the TWIC card to the driver requesting access
    • This temporary change will eliminate the need for drivers to physically touch the card/fingerprint reader
  2. All gate kiosks are equipped with hands-free two-way speakers as an alternative to the handset
    • Gate personnel have been instructed to use the hands-free option as the primary means of communication
  3. Drivers are encouraged to utilize their personal cell. phones to execute terminal transactions, under the following conditions:
    • The truck must be parked
    • The driver must be inside the truck or on the weight-sensing pad
    • Relevant phone numbers are posted on signs in the transfer zones

REMINDER:  The accuracy and strength of PRO-PASS Truck Reservation System (TRS) reservations is a critical factor in avoiding additional contact and communication on terminal.  Properly confirmed reservations typically result in container moves requiring little, if any, interaction between the driver and terminal personnel.

We urge all drivers to exercise personal responsibility and stewardship as they transit our terminals, traveling with disposable gloves and/or disinfecting wipes in their trucks.  The port placed an early requisition order for gloves and wipes, but the significant needs of the medical community continue to take proper priority over commercial requests.  

We are partners in the international supply chain.  That partnership has never been more vital than it is today.