Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
A Message from the President regading COVID-19
It is in times of crisis a level head must always prevail.
‘Many of you will recall your time in command or piloting when the old adage was never run from one bridge wing to another; always walk calmly give the appearance you are in control.
‘Our position as harbourmaster is responsible for the safety of the port and the community but is also charged with the responsibility to look after the welfare of seafarers trading to our ports and ensuring the safe and efficient movement of trade through our ports.
‘As indicated in the address of the Secretary General of IMO it is now more than ever that global trade is vital for the safety and welfare of our global communities.
‘Each of us works closely with our public health authorities to manage the potential risk and spread of the COVID-19 virus but it is vital now that you are the voice of reason and pragmatic solutions to assist governments to make an informed decision.
‘We like IAPH and ICS understand and support the need for trade to continue and we as Harbourmasters understand the need to keep our communities safe. Both can be achieved through rationale minds working to manage risk with all their stakeholders.
‘Consider all risk and human rights of all persons including our seafarers.
‘Stay safe and be the voice of reason.'
IHMA Congress postponement
As readers will be aware the IHMA Congress, scheduled for Hobart on 23-26 March, has now been postponed to 5-9 October 2020 at the same venue.
At IHMA the staff of the secretariat took into consideration all available information, weighed all possible options and came to the difficult decision to reschedule the IHMA Congress.
Venue for the 2020 Congress remains Hobart’s Grand Chancellor Hotel.
French container carrier, CMA CGM has announced its intention of launching a new product called Round the Africa (RTA) service to add to and complement the current 31 CMA CGM services already operating to sub-Saharan Africa.
A bit of a misnomer, the service is unique in terms of providing a direct service from Asia to Senegal and Sierra Leone along with best transit times, as well as calls to other selected West African ports.
Dakar is reached weekly from Ningbo in 35 days, from Nansha in 32 days. Freetown (Sierra Leone) is reached in 35 days from Nansha. The service offer to Tema (Ghana) is improved with three weekly departures.
‘Our exporters from West Africa will benefit of excellent transit time and direct service to China. Shanghai is reached in 29 days from Abidjan, 31 days from Tema, 36 days from Freetown and 39 days from Dakar,’ says the line in a statement.
One is left to assume the Round Africa part comes from the ships returning to Asia via the Cape of Good Hope.
Round the Africa service rotation is as follows:
Shanghai – Ningbo – Nansha – Singapore – Malta – Tanger – Dakar – Freetown – Tema – Abidjan – Port Kelang – Shanghai
In the current context, marked by the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic, terminals are showing a considerable drop in overall port volumes. This is associated with a decline in economic activity, and with a large number of blank sailings due to shipping lines’ attempts to align capacity with existing demand.
However, the paradox is that despite the fact that calls and volume arriving at the Port of Barcelona's BEST terminal have decreased, moves per call have significantly increased. This was reported from the port on 29 June.
During week 23 (1-7 June), BEST terminal welcomed the largest vessel to call at the Port of Barcelona, MSC Sixin, with a capacity of almost 24,000 TEU.
Subsequently, similar ships from the 2M alliance (Maersk + MSC) have been arriving on a recurring basis on passage between the Far East and Europe, grouping together all the moves that a few weeks ago were made between different services of the same alliance and which were cancelled due to the exceptional situation currently experienced.
During May and June, BEST terminal saw how the number of moves per call had broken all existing records in the Port of Barcelona – starting with almost 8,000 moves in week 22, all move records broken to reach almost 8,500 moves in week 24.
This change in demand, with large cargo concentration peaks on large deep sea vessels and a smaller number of calls, directly impacts on the way terminals must approach the services they offer.
It was found that the way to put forward a valuable proposal to shipping lines with these types of calls, is to offer productivity per call that exceeds by far the average efficiency in container terminals. With this in mind, it is important to highlight the relevance of the important investments made by BEST, both in the number of cranes capable of operating these types of ship, and in the terminal operating system (TOS) at all levels.