Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  12 Aug 2010

SHIPPING: Turn-Round At Cape Town's Port


Recent Western Cape Business News

PORT operator Transnet Port Terminal (TPT) credits the recent merger of its Cape Town container and multipurpose terminals, and the restructuring of its planning and operations structures in the Western Province, for an increase in productivity and performance in the Cape Town Terminal since the end of June. The changes have assisted in recovery plans after the three week industrial action in May of this year, which affected operations in ports across the country.

It took the terminal two weeks from the end of the strike to clear the backlog of vessels.

Gross crane hours (GCH), which is the common measure of productivity in the container handling business, has improved from an average of 22 to 25GCH, with a peak in performance during the week ending 16 July when the terminal achieved 28 GCH.

GCH is a crucial factor in container shipping, which requires fast and efficient movement of containers by crane operators to reduce the overall cost of doing business.

Transnet has set a target of 28 GCH for all container terminals as part of its quantum leap strategy, which calls on employees to make massive improvements in their performance to meet customer and shareholder expectations.

Ship working hours (SWH) had improved from an average of 39 to 42 SWH. Ship working hours is the number of containers that have been moved by the number of cranes working on the vessel in one hour. It is a key performance indicator for customers.

Stack occupancy at the terminals has stabilised at 50%, which is a reflection of good throughput control of containers handled. A figure below 65% signals efficient operations. This is significant considering the terminal’s current refurbishment programme which has put pressure on its stack capacity.

Truck turnaround times had improved from over 30 minutes on average to 23 minutes to enter and exit the terminal for loading or offloading of containers.

Velile Dube, the new Western Province Terminal executive responsible for all TPT terminals in Cape Town and Saldanha, has been credited for a number of the changes.

Dube says the merger of the Cape Town container and multipurpose terminals, which always operated as separate entities in the past, now allowed TPT to plan holistically, make better use of infrastructure, equipment and facilities, and ensure that customer service and performance across the port are consistent.

We are now looking at berth availability and available infrastructure for the entire Cape Town Terminal, rather than at two separate terminals. So a container vessel can now come into the port and be berthed at either terminal, with the same TPT management and operations teams working to serve customers across the port,” he says.

The Container Terminal has been under pressure during its R5.6 billion, five-year expansion and construction programme which commenced in January 2008. The multipurpose terminal is able to handle containers diverted from the container terminal and also boasts bulk and cold store facilities.

Dube also separated the planning and operations departments, which were previously the responsibility of one individual.


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