WINDSOR, ONT. -- Port Windsor is getting special recognition from the Chamber of Marine Commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Windsor is the first port in Canada to be named a Marine Trusted Partner by the chamber.

The marine chamber is a bi-national association that represents more than 130 marine industry stakeholders, including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine sector providers, as well as domestic and international ship owners.

The CMC launched the Trusted Partners Initiative last month to assure ship owners, governments, and the public that a mutually agreed standard of protection and supporting protocols is being followed by each partner during the pandemic.

It is intended to help to facilitate safe movement between vessels and the shoreside by minimizing the need for additional screening between trusted partners.

“We are proud of our many operators who have made the health and safety of all workers in Port Windsor a priority,” said Steve Salmons, president and CEO of Port Windsor in a news release. “They have all taken steps to ensure that Port Windsor remains a destination of choice. This is more than about keeping the flow of essential goods and materials flowing, it's about keeping our community safe.”Port Windsor

The Marine Trusted Partner program sets out best practices put in place to protect ship crews, customers, service providers and the public from risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It covers preventive measures before boarding ships and prevention while onboard, as well as measures for managing a sick person on board.

A recent audit by the marine chamber determined that the port has successfully implemented a full range of best practices for preventative measures and processes to provide a level of trust and confidence for those dealing with Port Windsor.

“We are providing our ship owners, ports and other members information on the latest measures and best practices coming from federal and provincial government departments here in North America and through the International Chamber of Shipping,” said a statement from the chamber.

From the beginning of the outbreak, Port Windsor officials said they have taken several measures to ensure its staff has up-to-date information and knowledge about the COVID-19 virus.

Work arrangements were modified to allow staff to work from home where possible, or provided with enhanced protocols and PPE to protect them and other workers while performing their duties.

The Port provided all operators with the most current information to protect port-side staff, and how to engage safely.

More than 800 masks were recently distributed to all people who work in Port Windsor each day.

As Ontario's third largest port, each year the Windsor Port Authority receives more than 600 ships, delivering more than 5 million tonnes of aggregate, salt, steel and grain to Windsor-Essex, and ports across the Great Lakes and into Europe.