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Terminal Productivity from Container Liner’s View

The meaning of productivity is the ratio of output against input made with expectations. In this generic definition, there are two different approaches would be possible in the container terminal operation productivity. One from container liner’s view and another is terminal operator’s perspective.

Approach for the consumers(container liners) who are supposed to
receive the service of cargo operation, moreover good service from
producers(terminal operator) for cost reduction through
higher cargo operation productivity.

Although it would be arguable whether it is reasonable for the discussion not from the total cost of operation from container liner as well as terminal operator, but from a one-sided view, I would like to raise the importance of approach for the consumers(container liners) who are supposed to receive the service of cargo operation, moreover good service from producers(terminal operator) for cost reduction through higher cargo operation productivity.

Among a ship’s port call processes, ‘Steam-in > Arrival >
Operation > Departure’, the longest and most important step
should be ‘Operation’ which is decided by the total handling
volume, the number of gangs, and crane productivity.

From container liners’ position, several measurements of productivity are possible to calculate and regarding maintaining ship’s planned schedule, the productivity should cover end to end port operation process which is from arrival for pickup pilot until departure after completion cargo operation. Among a ship’s port call processes, ‘Steam-in > Arrival > Operation > Departure’, the longest and most important step should be ‘Operation’ which is decided by the total handling volume, the number of gangs, and crane productivity.

How the productivity in cargo operation would be
maximized in order to minimize ship’s port staying
from container liners’ viewpoint?

In this regards, how the productivity in cargo operation would be maximized in order to minimize ship’s port staying from container liners’ viewpoint? In general, it requires well-planned stowage plan based on terminal’s gang allocation in consideration of handling volume. However, there are other aspects which are out of liners’ hands like OEE(Overall Equipment Effectiveness), G/C & Y/T balance, Crane intensity.

OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness)

Although there are several measurements of cargo operation productivity, gross gang productivity should be targeted in monitor through breakdown by the categorized event during the cargo operation. When applying the theory of OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) which is well known in manufacturing domain, the opportunity of enhancement could be identified specifically. (To obtain the opportunity for improvement, rigorous and detailed monitoring should be premised on)

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  • These waterfall charts represent the detail of non-productive ratio and reasons. More breakdown, more opportunity for improvement. An OEE score of 85% is considered world class for discrete manufacturers. For many companies, it is a suitable long-term goal (reference-1)

The balance of G/C and Y/T

Depend on the shuttling distance from the inbound/outbound containers in the terminal yard to the beneath of gantry crane, allocation of yard tractors per crane would be a key point to be monitored and managed. In this aspect, terminal operator’s support through assigning yard locations in a short distance from the gantry crane operation is essential, and this is not only for better the crane productivity but also for optimizing asset with minimizing allocation yard tractors per gantry crane.

If there is targeted crane productivity range 29~33 moves/hour, required Y/T turn time, as well as allocated the number of Y/T per crane could be calculated. Action plans to avoid idling either by gantry crane or yard tractor need to be reviewed and executed.

9

  • This table is illustrating the combination of Y/T turn time and Y/T number which are determining cargo operation productivity.
  1. Improvement Y/T utilization: Allocate more Y/T to the G/C which is handling containers from/to near-by location in C/Y, Continuous monitoring and control Y/T allocation during operation
  2. Improvement other unproductive events: Meal break, Operator break, Shift change, Gear exchange for awkward cargo

Crane Intensity

No matter how many cranes are allocated, commencing and completing cargo operation at the same times would be the best result. However, the reality is quite different depending on stowage planning and available cranes at the specific berth. The efforts of understanding the plan & result of gang allocation for the cargo operation will make more attention by vessel planners in container liner and terminal operator.

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  • This bar charts explaining each gang’s operation intensity and imbalance would be the target need to reduce through improved inbound/outbound as well as gang allocation split.

There are lots of opportunities beyond than apparent
situation in improving cargo operation productivity through
cooperation with terminal operators.

The belief of ‘doing the best’ and ‘there is nothing to improve’
is a preconception based on limited experiences.

However, it needs to be careful with the tradeoff between
cost reduction vs. safety in cargo operation always.

Reference-1: OEE in lean production (https://www.leanproduction.com/oee.html)

Edited by Kwang-Yong Jung, Business Consultant, CyberLogitec