TrainForTrade online course on building port resilience against pandemics

19 February - 13 March 2024

The Building Port Resilience Against Pandemics course was developed by UNCTAD's TrainForTrade Program in cooperation with the Valenciaport Foundation and the Valencia Port Authority and with funding from the United Nations Development Account and Irish Aid.


The objective of UNCTAD TrainForTrade’s Building Port Resilience Against Pandemics (BPR) special course is to support the implementation of measures and to prepare for and alleviate contingencies related to a pandemic in a port, port terminals, and other seaport actors.

More specifically, at the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe and prepare crisis protocols
  • Prepare communication strategies and implement effective digital communication tools
  • Appreciate the potential impacts of pandemics on staff well-being and address any mental and emotional distress-related issues
  • Identify appropriate technology solutions for alternative work arrangements
  • Assess disruption scenarios for cargoes and passengers
  • Identify legal and financial risks
  • Define appropriate mitigation measures 

Target population

This special course is addressed to all actors involved in international trade, especially those involved with port operations. The course primary and secondary target population are representatives from the following organisations:

Primary target
  • Port authorities (those include middle and senior managers)
  • Private port management companies
  • Port community operators (those include freight forwards, hauliers, customs agents, ship agents)
  • Port agents (those include pilots, harbour masters)
  • Line ministries staff: Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Commerce 
Secondary target
  • Trade facilitation committees
  • Port safety and security officers
  • Trade unions
  • Stevedores
  • Local authorities

Course structure and material

This is an asynchronous/self-paced moderated online course that is delivered over a period of two weeks, and followed by two simulation exercises and a webinar. Port experts will engage with participants online in the forum discussions for each of the course sections. The estimated time needed to complete the course activities is about 20 hours.

The online moderated course is structured in four sections, giving a precise and ordered view of the different aspects to be taken into account by a port or port organisation in a pandemic situation. It considers both a general vision and specific actions, the psychological and emotional part related to workers, the technological tools, and also considers actions related to ensuring the main activity of a port in the management of the flow of goods:

  1. Crisis protocol and communication strategy
  2. Staff management, well-being and resilience
  3. Technology preparedness
  4. Cargo flow continuity

The course material comprises a participant manualand interactive videos. Participants will be given access to the material through the TrainForTrade learning platform (

During the two first weeks, participants will be required to:

  • Read the participant manual
  • Watch the interactive videos
  • Participate in the forums
  • Complete the two quizzes
  • Respond to the anonymous opinion questionnaires 

Simulation exercises/gamification and optional assignment

During the third week, participants will complete simulation exercises to consolidate the knowledge they acquired during the course. The main purpose of these exercises is for participants to test their decision-making skills in a role play situation as a decision maker in a pandemic context. The estimated time to complete the exercises is about 30-45 minutes. The results of these exercises are only indicative and will not count in the final grade for the course.

Participants could also complete an optional assignment on examples of pandemic-related policies and measures implemented in their ports. This activity is not graded and will not count in the final grade for the course.


At the end of the course delivery, participants will be invited to a 90-minute webinar to be held on Zoom. The objective of this activity is to summarize the online course, discuss issues and present best practices.


Participants who complete the two quizzes related to sections 1-4 and who obtain an average score of at least 50% will receive an electronic certificate of completion of the course.


Course candidates are kindly asked to register themselves at their earliest convenience and by no later than 16 February 2024 on the TrainForTrade registration platform (

For that purpose, course candidates should complete the following steps:

  1. Go to the platform page:
  2. Click the Log in link in the upper right corner.
  3. Provide your email and password and click Log in
  4. Under the Special Course - Building Port Resilience Against Pandemics item, provide the following passcode: BPR2024EN and click Apply.
  5. Provide your registration details and click Submit and apply.

Please note that if you do not have an account on the registration platform yet, please create it first by clicking the following link, providing your details and following instructions on the screen.

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Sponsor / funding:
UN Development Account (Tranche 12A), Irish Aid

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TrainForTrade Programme
Mr. Mark Assaf
Chief, Human Resources Development Section