Port productivity gains lagging cargo growth

Pictured: Andreas Mrozek Pictured: Andreas Mrozek
Industry Database

Productivity improvement is behind growth in many network-critical terminals, with congestion a result of this, a presentation from Hamburg Süd’s global head of marine and terminal operations has claimed.

Delivered at TOC Europe, the presentation by Andreas Mrozek said that terminals lack capability to increase productivity if it is needed in peaks.

He also referenced the wide gap between a carrier‘s view of optimum productivity versus the terminal’s view.

“We all know, of course, that we have challenges when utilisation of individual terminals fills up, and we face that on a regular basis,” Mr Mrozek said. “This is not always really factored in when you think forward, when you make new vessel sharing agreements, when you set up new vessel systems.

“It’s something which continues to [take] companies by surprise — although if one looks into it, one could predict that much better than one does.”

These effects, and others, lead to port congestion, he explained, with his presentation saying that there is “significant congestion in globally vital ports”, like those of Moín and Shanghai, plus a number of transhipment hubs, and that there are knock-on impacts on many subsequent transhipment hubs and key ports.

Networks have been improved to become more efficient and offer better end-to-end products and are constructed with better buffer times and more-realistic sailing speeds. But they are also more vulnerable due to being increasingly interconnected and hugely affected by a few ports with strong congestion, Mr Mrozek argued.

“A reliable transport chain has to overcome increasing bottlenecks by closer co-operation, data science, predictive analytics and a role-change of the supply chain partners,” he concluded.

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