To sustain our long-term global growth we must ensure we develop and continuously improve efficient, safe and secure ways of managing our operations.
Efficiency, safety and security are key elements in sustaining our long-term growth and maintaining our operational excellence. Ensuring cost containment and safety supported by automation technology and innovation is something that our customers expect, reinforcing our reputation for providing premier services. We achieve this by harnessing the collective knowledge and experience across our global portfolio, exchanging best practice and knowledge sharing, keeping up to date with the latest technological advances in our industry and cascading that information across our network.
These ingredients all contribute to greater efficiency. With regional collaboration, our various Head Office departments also get involved to ensure we are closely aligned. With regular terminal visits and inspections we reinforce compliance with our global policies and verify that operational service levels meet the standard for terminal configuration and customer satisfaction. By monitoring and benchmarking terminal performance and capacity through well-defined key performance indicators we can better identify when additional capacity is required to meet the future needs of our customers.
From automated remote controlled quay cranes to optical character recognition systems for containers, we implement technological advancements that will improve our efficiency which in turn benefits our stakeholders. A rolling series of workshops with users of our terminal systems, also makes sure there is a continuous focus on quality assurance and improving productivity at our terminals.
The best operations model in the industry is a centralised system, with the terminal control centre at its heart supported by the terminal operating system (TOS). Traditionally such systems are built around a container. We are building ours around equipment because that is what drives our efficiency and effectiveness. Until now we have primarily used third-party TOS but we are currently developing an in-house TOS with multiple smart applications and add-ons to optimise performance. The system is already up and running in Suriname, Tarragona (Spain), Hong Kong (China) and a number of our African ports with plans to implement it in Laem Chabang (Thailand), one of the larger terminals in our network.
Our future aim is to have all knowledge and optimisation embedded in one platform so that we can take advantages of integrated and centralised asset management utilisation.
During 2013, we launched the industry’s largest ever asset management programme, bringing together our activities into a harmonised risk based management system approach strongly aligned with our strategic objectives. This will be compliant with the ISO 55000 standard for asset management.
Port equipment is by its nature expensive and therefore requires careful handling. If all our assets are managed across the global portfolio rather than on a terminal by terminal basis, we can greatly improve efficiency, eliminate waste and duplication, cut costs, and minimise disruption to customer service. Five terminals have already trialled the programme with another eight scheduled to join in 2014.
Our initiatives under the umbrella of operational excellence also bring benefits such as reducing the amount of carbon emissions, faster vessel start up, a shorter equipment cycle, faster shift changes and faster gate transactions matching demand with supply so we can service customers better, faster, and safer.
As customers order larger vessels and seek world class ports to handle them, development of port infrastructure is becoming a major requirement in the industry. Our flagship port at Jebel Ali (UAE), already able to handle the world’s largest vessels, is preparing to be able to serve ten ultra-large container vessels at the same time. In December 2013, the first four of 19 ship to shore quay cranes arrived for the new four million TEU Container Terminal 3 (T3) at Jebel Ali.
With their 69.5 metre lifting height and extended reach, the new cranes can handle the new generation of 25 container-wide ultra-large container vessels. There will be 98 quay cranes in total at Jebel Ali once all cranes on order are in place. T3, which is due to open in 2014, will increase the total capacity of the port to 19 million TEU.