In 2019, the continued cascading of larger vessels into the US east-west, north-south trade lanes is the challenge ports must cope with or watch the business move elsewhere. Port capacity and labor resources are not an unlimited resource — and every year adds higher performance expectations.
For APM Terminals North America, the response has been to work closer with supply chain partners to constantly improve operations and focus more as a port solutions integrator for the liner, port, and inland supply chain segments. One example has been to create a “peeloOff” program for liner and BCO customers with high import volumes on a specific vessel. Working with the liner operator to ensure special stowage at the load port, ensuring sufficient yard space at the discharge port and special gates to enable truckers to enter and exit easily to distribution centers is a solution in play for 2019 that shows strong success.
Another response has been to invest in ongoing terminal improvements in all our ports. APM Terminals Pier 400 Los Angeles is nearing completion of an extensive gantry crane fleet heightening project to serve the upsized vessels in the trans-Pacific trade. APM Terminals Elizabeth, New Jersey, is in the midst of a US$200 million upgrade with new larger gantry cranes, expanded yard capacity, and modernized gates to serve the growing metropolitan market.
Other plans include truck appointment systems, enhanced terminal operating systems, standardizing operational procedures for consistency reasons, and ensuring a safe working environment for our liner, trucking, and BCO customers.
We’re excited about the challenges in 2019 and look forward to working with customers and the entire port ecosystem to constantly find new solutions and improvements to ensure the industry’s vital role in lifting global trade.