Container terminals must improve productivity at the same rate as growth in ship sizes or “preferably much more,” an APM Terminal official said at a Stockholm port conference.
"Our customers are building bigger and bigger ships and it is imperative that we are able to increase our delivered productivity at minimum the same pace as the ships grow — but preferably much more," Soren Sjostrand Jakobsen, APM Terminals’ head of project implementation, told delegates to the Future Ports conference.
He noted that nearly 80 percent of new container vessel capacity being introduced in the next two years will be super post-Panamax vessels. He said ship lines need these ships to compete but can’t afford to keep the vessels in port for days.
"Productivity will be the battleground for terminal operators, and those who are able to meet our customers’ requirements will be the winners," Jakobsen said.
He cited APM Terminals efforts to improve productivity through technology but said productivity at terminals varies widely. He said Yokohama, with more than 45 gross moves per hour, is the only APM Terminals facility that approaches the physical limits of ship-to-shore crane productivity.
"We — and other terminals operators I'm sure — have terminals in their portfolio where a 40 to 50 percent productivity improvement is not an unrealistic goal and even for high performing terminals it is possible to improve further,” Jakobsen said.
"Improving productivity gets you free capacity, reduces cost, improves your product and you get happy customers. If we can improve productivity by 50 percent in a one million TEU capacity terminal, we create a game-changer in the industry for our customers through better economics, reliability and capacity availability.”