Digital Edition

June 23, 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 71

10 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE JUNE 23.2014 COVER STORY PORT PRODUCTIVITY DATA from JOC Group Inc. for 2013 demonstrate that terminal operators around the world are taking quite seriously the challenge they face to ser- vice vessels in port as quickly and efficiently as possible in this era of mega-ships. Productivity at many ports and terminals increased in 2013. In fact, some terminals that were unranked in 2012 made the Top 10 last year. Large vessels capable of carrying 8,000 to 18,000 20-foot container units now are operating in all of the major trade lanes. Terminal operators must work these costly vessels quickly and efficiently or risk losing business. JOC Group Inc. Port Productivity Data for 2013 gives the container shipping indus- try the first year-over-year comparison of container moves per-vessel, per-hour for the world's top ports and marine terminals. Because carriers provide the information based on the thousands of port calls their vessels made in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, the data is considered accurate and unbiased. Experts in marine terminal operations say improvements in port productivity this past year derive primarily from terminal operating fundamentals such as paying greater attention to operational details, and devoting more assets to work the mega-ships. "I'm not seeing anything the terminals are doing that is new or excit- ing," said Tom Ward, senior maritime planner at New York-based global infra- structure consultant Parsons Brinkerhoff. For example, the crane duty cycle, or aver- age container moves per crane per hour, generally hasn't improved, he said. Mark Sisson, leader of the marine analysis group at Oakland, Calif.-based engineering firm AECOM, said there have been no signif- icant advances in crane technology or terminal operating systems. "There were no game changers," he said. Rather, terminal operators are getting the big ships in and out more quickly by employing more cranes over more shifts, said Ed DeNike, chief operating officer at Seattle-based terminal operator SSA Marine. If individ- ual crane lifts per hour remain about the same, "the only thing you can do is add more cranes," he said. In Los Angeles-Long Beach, for example, terminals used to deploy four cranes per ship when the vessels were smaller. With 8,000-TEU ships now the norm, terminals regularly are deploying six cranes per vessel. As vessel sizes increase to 14,000 TEUs, the use of seven or eight cranes can be expected. Large vessels calling at Los Angeles-Long Beach regularly discharge and load 5,000 containers per call, with the biggest ships generating almost 10,000 moves per vessel call. Working vessels one eight-hour shift per day would require that ship to stay in port for five days, so terminals now work two eight-hour shifts each day in order to turn the vessels in 2½ days. Even with the additional resources terminals are deploying, however, vessel productivity at U.S. and Euro- pean ports continues to lag productivity at ports in Asia, so there must be best practices that can be gleaned from terminal operations in Asia. APM Terminals in Yokohama and Tianjin Xingang Sinor Terminal, for example, each averaged an amazing 163 vessel moves per hour to tie for the top spot in the world. By comparison, APM Terminals Port Elizabeth in New Jersey averaged 104 vessel lifts per hour to lead all other U.S. terminals. APM Terminals Rotterdam aver- aged 99 moves per vessel per hour to rank fourth in the Europe-Middle East region. Jeff De Best, chief operating officer at APM Terminals in The Hague, said a number of factors affect productivity numbers from port to port and country to country, includ- ing the average size of the vessels deployed, whether the port is a gateway port or a transshipment port and the GETTING SHIPSHAPE, ON A GRANDER SCALE By Bill Mongelluzzo New operational methods are paying off in improved port productivity — at the berth, at least.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Digital Edition - June 23, 2014