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port terminal

Port terminals need to be more cost effective

Pressure is mounting on container ports to improve efficiency in terminal operations, as wholesale change in the shipping industry continues to increase competition and drive down revenue per box.

According to Mark Welles, Navis vice president and general manager Asia Pacific, terminal operators are “aggressively attacking their cost base and figuring out ways to use some of their tools to do more with less”.

This includes using automation to drive incremental changes that improve operational efficiency, whether waterside or at the terminal gate.

“Terminals are making the small or large changes they need to keep their businesses moving ahead against the challenges from consolidation on the carrier side,”

“Some terminals are handling more volume, but in some markets the revenue per teu is decreasing – or certainly not increasing the way it used to – so they’re having to manage their business in a different way.

“That efficiency drive has two parts: one is to be the better service provider [than regional port competitors]; but also to reduce your costs, which therefore either gives you more flexibility on the commercial side, or it means you’re a more profitable business,” he added.

Mr Welles was speaking after a visit to the Qingdao New Qianwan Container Terminal (QQCTN), which uses Navis N4, the port software specialist’s flagship terminal operating system (TOS).

“Full automation is working well for them and helping to set the stage for what’s possible in China and Asia, in terms of the success they’ve had,” he explained.

Navis has worked with ports to implement around 120 software “go-lives” at terminals around the world over the past two years. The port of Tianjin managed to install N4 at six terminals in less than 12 months, a feat Mr Welles described as “almost unheard of”.

The importance of a well-functioning TOS was brought into sharp focus by the IT failure experienced recently at Felixstowe. The botched installation of an in-house TOS led to prolonged operational interruptions and subsequent diverted vessel calls. The resulting supply chain disruption – which was at first contained to UK ports – has now spread to northern Europe.

It appears Hutchison, the Hong Kong port group that runs Felixstowe, was bucking a trend with the decision to develop its own TOS.

“It’s fair to say, from a macro-level, over the past five years we’ve seen more and more of the regional and global terminal groups partnering with an experienced solutions provider to ‘buy don’t build’,” said Mr Welles.

He claims ports generally prefer suppliers that provide turnkey solutions for the full spectrum of systems and equipment required for each aspect of terminal operations.

Source: The Loadstar

Southampton freight terminal expansion

Southampton’s freight terminal plans further expansion

The planned expansion of Southampton’s container terminal will help cement it’s reputation as one of the fastest, most productive freight terminals in the UK.

With the mega vessels arriving in Southampton getting bigger and bigger, Southampton’s freight terminal are scaling up to match. DP World Southampton are investing heavily in new equipment, land and quayside cranes. This increase in capacity is great news for the local freight industry, and will only help to improve the speed and productivity of the Southampton Terminal, which is already widely regarded as one of the best in the country.

The terminal recently acquired an additional 11.2 acres of land at the north east edge of the terminal, creating 640 extra ground spaces to store containers and bringing the size of the terminal to almost 100 hectares.

As well as creating more container capacity, the 11.2 acres supports operations at SCT 5 – the freight terminal’s newest and largest deep-water berth, which opened in March 2014. The new land behind this berth enables shorter run distances for straddle carriers taking containers to and from the stack, improving productivity overall.

Nick Loader, Chief Executive Officer, DP World Southampton, said:

“Container ships are getting bigger all the time. The 11.2 acres of new land will allow us to increase the utilisation of SCT 5. It will also help us to be much more efficient so that DP World Southampton can continue to load and unload vessels faster than any other container terminal in the UK. Our customers tell us that we are the most productive terminal in the UK and we intend to stay that way.”

The terminal operator’s expansion plans also include:

• Investment in 17 new straddle carriers, being manufactured by Kalmar in Poland, to replace older equipment and bring DP World Southampton’s fleet more up to date.

• The purchase of a two additional new super post-panamax cranes scheduled for delivery in early 2018.

The size of container ships importing and exporting goods around the world has nearly doubled in just under 10 years. The world’s largest container ships regularly call at DP World Southampton including the MSC Diana at 19,462 TEU. However, there are already 21,000 TEU vessels on order for delivery during 2017.

The growth of the Southampton freight terminal will help to future proof it for dealing efficiently with increasingly larger vessels, which is great news for Supreme Freight as one of the major freight forwarding companies in the area.

Feel free to get in touch to see how this could effect your freight requirements.