How PortMiami is remaining resilient and preparing for the future

PortMiami is making plans to ensure the safety of all employees and passengers when the cruise industry reopens. Port director Juan Kuryla tells Elly Yates-Roberts more

How PortMiami is remaining resilient and preparing for the future

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all nations, industries and organisations, but PortMiami’s director and CEO Juan Kuryla is looking at the positives that have come out of it. During a meeting with Miami’s Tourism and the Ports Committee in July, he spoke about the resilience and hard work of the port’s employees during the virus-imposed lockdown.

“I want to really thank the team at every level of the organisation, from the executive team to everybody that is out there doing painstaking cleaning, painting and carpentry work during this very difficult period for the port,” he said.

The port has been able to secure the jobs of most of its workforce, enabling many of them to successfully work from home. “We are very proud; they are doing just as well as they were when they were coming into the office,” said Kuryla, praising his staff for their contributions. “Once cruises ceased in mid-March, our employees’ willingness to do other things at the port – such as manual labour and restoring some of the facilities – blew me away. Their efforts have been second to none.”

During this time, the team at PortMiami has been doing its utmost to prepare for when cruise ships and their passengers return to the port, and to ensure the health and safety of employees and port visitors.

“In terms of workforce protection, we have been operating strictly under the health and safety protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” Kuryla explained. “We have issued personal protective equipment to all of our staff since the very beginning of the outbreak, including gloves, masks and hand sanitiser. In addition, we have continued our sanitisation activities throughout the port facilities on a daily basis, with sanitising protocols in place in the cruise terminals and corporate offices.”

The port has also been working hard to protect all non-employees, for example by installing hand-sanitising stations throughout the port’s high-traffic areas and busy contact points. “We are regularly disinfecting all vehicles and anything that is touched by a port employee,” he said.

While putting measures in place for the here and now is essential to keep those who are accessing the port safe, PortMiami has also developed a list of business process adaptation to guarantee that it is well-positioned once the industry reboots. “We have been working with all of our partners – the coast guard, Customs and Border Protection, Miami-Dade Police Department and the Fire Department – to plan for the eventual reopening of the port to the cruise industry,” Kuryla said. “We have also created a health committee comprised of many of these members and are engaging with the CDC and federal agencies so that we can be 100 per cent ready to go once the CDC lifts the order and the cruise lines start sailing.”

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2020 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

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Elly Yates-Roberts
By Elly Yates-Roberts
18 January 2021

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