Covid-19 impacts

2020 was strongly marked by the pandemic decreed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March. Measures adopted worldwide to contain the number of infections, such as social isolation and the restriction of movement of people, the closing (total or partial) of stores and services and the reduction of working hours in industries, had a direct impact on the economy and society. 

Railroad transportation of Cargo is recognized as service essential for supplying the national industry, for the Brazilian trade balance and for transporting food and other goods that are also essential to the functioning and supply of the country. Thus, within the framework of Decree Nº 10.282, of March 20, 2020, for the purposes of Law Nº 13.970/2020, MRS railway operation was maintained throughout the year without interruption of activities, as well as those of its suppliers and service providers, always with respect for care, to ensure the safety and health of employees and society.

The Company’s operating and financial performance was impacted, mainly in the first months of 2020. MRS was required to carry out adjustments to meet a new reality in the industry and a reduction in demand in segments such as steel products, cement and containers. On the other hand, there was a boost in the mining and agricultural products segments, driven by the U.S. dollar appreciation. Learn more in Performance 2020.

The employees started to work in a remote work model on March 17 in MRS administrative areas and in on-site rotating shifts for activities that could not be performed remotely. All non-essential on-site activities were adapted to the online format or suspended. For those who needed to remain in the facilities, the Company started to carry out frequent hand washing campaigns, provide alcohol gel and masks at work stations and check the temperature of all those who access the units. All these actions were accompanied by the company’s board, in a Crisis Committee with regular meetings.

In Occupational Health, absenteeism in prevention and health care programs increased due to the policy of remote work and rotating shifts, which led the Company to implement two new health channels, one focused on care and prevention of Covid-19 and the other for consultations by telemedicine. Learn more in Employees.

The activities of the Environmental Education Program for workers and communities were remodeled to comply with the protocols required by the pandemic. Learn more at Operational Safety and Environment

Likewise, communication with the internal audience needed to be remodeled and, throughout the year, campaigns and actions were carried out under new standards:

  • Creation of the page Amplie suas Competências (Expand your Skills) to assist in the personal and professional development of employees during the pandemic;
  • Seven live streaming sessions on physical, mental and financial health were held for employees and family members. Psychologists, nutritionist, pedagogue and financial consultant attended in the live sessions. The total number of views of the live sessions reached more than 2,400;
  • Live steaming sessions aimed at professional development on career, accountability, data intelligence, industry 4.0 and Lean;
  • #PorUmBemMaior campaign directed at teams on the front line;
  • Special action for Railwayman Day for front-line and outsourced employees. T-shirts with the slogan of #PorUmBemMaior campaign, a letter of recognition signed by the Company’s CEO and a box of chocolates for the family were delivered.
  • On Railwayman Day, a news report was broadcasted in Jornal Nacional with MRS employees’ testimonials about the work of this professionals during the pandemic;
  • Creation of the Mental Health Week to address the topic and make employees aware of the importance of taking care of their health. Various contents were produced, such as videos and podcast; in addition, in the week’s agenda two lectures were held with professionals;
  • Creation of the series “Tips for Working from Home” to help employees prepare their work environment at home and provide guidelines on good posture practices, care with headphones, stretching and gymnastics at work.

Support in combating the impacts of the pandemic

In recognition of the great challenges that the scenario imposed on the municipalities and communities surrounding the railroad, MRS developed an emergency social collaboration program, aimed at serving two priority audiences in the three states in which it operates: homeless people and families with a high level of social vulnerability. Between April and June 2020, the Company donated 17 thousand basic food baskets and 17 thousand hygiene kits for 39 municipalities in the states of Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. All donations, which included the distribution of 816 thousand items, including food and personal hygiene and cleaning products, were planned with the municipal governments and social institutions. The deliveries were monitored on-site by MRS teams.

68 thousand

people assisted

816 thousand

donated items (food and personal care products)

39 municipalities

(Municipal Governments, Social Institutions and Residents’ Associations)

Further actions carried out by MRS with the same purpose of social support were:

Delivery of lunch boxes with ready meals to bordering communities in Vale do Paraíba (SP), Rio de Janeiro (RJ) and Juiz de Fora (MG);

Donation of 1,500 Covid-19 tests to municipal governments in the State of Minas Gerais;

Training of workers at the Horto (MG) Locomotive Workshop, in partnership with Federation of Industries Minas Gerais State (FIEMG acronym in Portuguese), to repair respirators. 200 respirators were recovered by MRS employees;

Donations to support the development of the Covid-19 vaccine, through an initiative called Todos Pela Saúde (All for Health) and directly to Fiocruz.

Learn more about MRS initiatives during the pandemic in:

To maintain the feasibility of all these actions that were necessary to adapt to the new scenario imposed by the pandemic, MRS’ Supplies area faced an increase in workload, with the acquisition of essential items for the employees’ safety (such as masks and alcohol gel), equipment to support the remote work policy, items to be donated to the communities, in addition to the negotiation within the new context of the inputs and services necessary for the Company’s normal operation. The area was also responsible for ensuring the logistics for the safe transportation of employees. Learn more at Suppliers.

In 2021, the challenges related to Covid-19 impacts persist and our efforts will also continue in order to promote the safety of all our employees, suppliers and communities in which we operate.

Download page

Download report

Download center

Complements of GRI indicators