With delays and outages from the complex rollout of the Navis SPARCS N4 terminal operating system now minimised at Durban Container Terminal: Pier 2, port operator Transnet Port Terminals says it is focusing on sustaining employee performance and cementing correct business processes at the cargo facility.
Terminal Executive for Durban Container Terminal, Hector Danisa recently outlined some key productivity improvements since a recovery plan was introduced at DCT Pier 2 late last year.
The plan aimed to reduce bottlenecks and boost the terminal’s operational performance after delays and technical downtime linked to the Navis rollout in April 2011.
Thus far DCT had seen improvements in its container handling rates, berthing times, truck turnaround time and degree of congestion in the container stacking yard.
“We are focusing on the so-called ‘softer’ issues now, namely intensifying efforts to improve employee productivity, boost morale, reduce absenteeism, improve safety and inculcate a real performance culture across the terminal,” said Danisa.
He said while DCT Pier 2’s container handling had improved beyond pre-Navis launch levels, the challenge was now to build sustainable processes to ensure continued performance and to make DCT competitive at international norms.
This, he said, TPT was addressing through various human capital initiatives such as:
• The establishment of Mission Directed Work Teams at DCT, spearheaded by TPT’s new People Transformation and Development Unit. These teams are essentially ‘mini businesses’ grouped within the operation according to type of work and each group will focus on quality, speed, cost, safety and people as work is executed.
• A mentorship programme for operators of lifting equipment (OLE’s) to improve crane handling.
Equipment upgrades have been a key focus, as Transnet’s accelerated capital expenditure programme sets out to reduce the impact of breakdowns due to ageing equipment at DCT.
(1) The terminal is now using 28 new diesel-electric straddle carriers, 14 of which have twin-lift capability.
(2) A concerted effort is underway to carry out midlife refurbishments on major equipment timeously. Twenty four other straddle carriers have been refurbished, with another six due to be refurbished by May 2012. Four ship-to-shore cranes will have been refurbished by the end of May 2012. Seven new tandem lift ship-to-shore cranes will be delivered towards the end of the year.
(3) DCT also beefed up its human resources with around two hundred new employees introduced into operations, especially as crane operators. DCT could now comfortably have 15 operational teams in place.
Landside operations saw the launch of a pre-advice system for both Pier 1 and Pier 2 aimed at improving planning of work and enhancing security in managing containers in the port.
A truck appointment system would also be piloted at DCT: Pier 2 from June 2012 to improve the scheduling of road cargo and general productivity in the logistics chain. It will initially be tested with four trucking companies and could be extended thereafter.
Under the new appointment system transporters would schedule their container collections or drop-offs via the Navis terminal operating system. They would then be allocated a time slot of about one and a half hours within which to arrive at the terminal. This would enable TPT and transport companies to deploy resources more efficiently and effectively, and could also minimise truck congestion on Bayhead Road.