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Published: 23 February 2012      

Transnet targets Pier 2, Durban recovery

South African state-owned port operator, Transnet Port Terminals, says that its plan to reduce bottlenecks and boost performance at Pier 2, Durban Container Terminal, is succeeding

Hector Danisa, Executive Manager for Durban Container Terminals, said: “Most of the productivity issues and downtime in 2011 related to technical issues following the national roll-out of the new Navis Sparcs N4 terminal operating system...Transnet was the first [operator] worldwide to operate multiple marine and rail terminals from a central server.

“TPT initially worked closely with Navis to iron out the issues, and then set out to introduce a recovery plan last year. This plan was aimed at stabilising the terminal from August 2011 and growing the business thereafter by encouraging improvement in key areas such as human capital, equipment and planning.”

According to TPT, ship working hour (SWH) performance at the terminal reached a high of 53 at DCT’s two prime berths, compared to a low of 44 moves experienced shortly after the introduction of Navis in April 2011. The improvement was therefore marked, but SWH is still not at the aspirational level of 75 that the terminal is committed to achieving.

Gross crane moves per crane per hour (GCH) had improved from an aggregate of 18 GCH following the Navis launch to around 22 GCH today, still short of the internal target of 28 GCH. Hence, operator training and equipment upgrades are being targeted through an accelerated capital expenditure and investment programme spearheaded by Transnet Group.

As regards other key performance criteria, turnaround time for trucks averaged 32 mins in January 2012, better than the target of 35 mins. Stack occupancy improved from 74% at the post-Navis launch to 61% today, against the norm of about 65%.

Danisa said that TPT had also overhauled its management team at DCT to tackle all the challenges, including training and absenteeism initiatives.

DCT achieved its target of having 15 gangs in place by the end of 2011 to improve productivity. A total of 140 new operators of lifting equipment (OLEs) were recruited from July to December 2011 to man the fleet of straddle carriers. Another 20 OLEs will be recruited during fiscal 1Q/2012 financial year (beginning April), to replace retiring OLE.

Other initiatives, including cross-functional training initiatives and mentorship of OLEs, are taking place to ensure sustainability in the long term.

Transnet’s accelerated capital expenditure plan aims to reduce the impact of breakdowns due to ageing equipment at DCT. As previously reported, the terminal has taken delivery of 28 new diesel-electric Terex Noell straddle carriers, 14 of which have twin-lift capability. These were commissioned last December.

In addition, DCT isays it is ahead of schedule in its programme to refurbish 30 other second generation straddle carriers by May 2012, with 17 completed and the balance on schedule for completion as per project commitment. The next refurbishment of straddles is currently being finalised for implementation from 3Q/2012.

Currently two STS cranes are being refurbished and another two will undergo refurbishment from May 2012. This initiative is in addition to the seven new tandem hoist STS cranes that have been procured from ZPMC, delivery of which will begin in 4Q/2012-13.

Initiatives on the landside part of operations include the launch of a pre-advice system for Pier 1 and Pier 2 aimed at improving planning of work and enhancing security in managing containers in the Port. A full rollout will take place next month.

The next project will see implementation of a truck booking system, scheduled for later in 2012. This should improve scheduling of road cargo and lead to improved productivity in the logistics chain. Again, projects leading up to it have already started in the port, resulting in improved truck turn-around time.


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