APM Terminals’ European Director of Port Investments and Projects Michiel Ybema proposed a systematic approach to analyzing and enhancing container port productivity on the Sea of Marmara at the 4th Annual Port Financial International Black Sea Conference held in Istanbul recently. The Sea of Marmara lies between the Aegean and Black Seas astride an increasingly important sea lane serving Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
“Handling mixed cargoes, the balance of transshipment and gateway cargoes, and equipment intensity are the primary drivers of differences in productivity,” observed Mr. Ybema.
The number of Shore-to-Ship and Mobile Harbor Cranes installed per meter of quay and the average number actually used to work a vessel are the key factors determining equipment intensity. Layout, equipment and operations at the four largest Marmara facilities of Marport, Kumport, Yilport and Evyap were compared respectively with roughly corresponding terminal situations at APM Terminals Global Terminal Network facilities at the Vridi Container Terminal at the Port of Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Aqaba Container Terminal, Jordan; Khalifa bin Salman Port, Bahrain and Terminal 4 at the Port of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Other significant factors that affect productivity levels at individual Marmara facilities are lengthy average container dwell times due to cargo clearance and payment processes, and the lack of adequate transportation infrastructure, both in terms of physical assets and rail and highway accessibility.
“We believe there would be great benefit from electronic cargo clearance in advance of arrival rather than after the vessel has been fully discharged, for example,” said Mr. Ybema.
APM Terminals Poti, on the Republic of Georgia’s Black Sea coast, was cited as a case in point, where the layout of the port is being restructured, and the berths are being deepened. These improvements, along with the addition of new terminal equipment will boost the capacity of the present day port by an estimated 50%.
“A lot of terminals we see have grown organically over the years and have structural inefficiencies ‘designed in’,” explained Mr. Ybema, noting “This is typically because they mix different cargoes over single berths or simply because they were designed for different cargoes or vessel sizes.
A presentation by Ms Maka Khvedelidze of Georgia's Tax and Customs Administration showed that the Republic of Georgia has made impressive progress on simplifying and speeding up the cargo clearance process. The IMF has projected Georgia’s GDP to expand by 6% in 2012, following a 7% growth in 2011.
APM Terminals will invest over $100 million USD between 2012 and 2014 at APM Terminals Poti, including the construction of new container and bulk cargo terminals. APM Terminals Poti handled 178,000 TEUs in 2011.
In February, APM Terminals announced the signing of a preliminary agreement for the development and operation of Petkim Port, located in Aliağa, near the City of Izmir on Turkey’s Aegean Coast.