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.
Port Call Optimisation is the process of realising reductions in environmental impact and improved safety and security management for shipping, terminals, and service providers.
The safety and efficiency of the maritime transport industry is dependent on the exchange of information. With the rapid advance of satellite and electronic communications, ‘port community systems’ operated by a variety of organizations that make up a seaport community will see enhanced electronic links between all parties involved in port activities. These include customs, port authorities, coastguard and others, as well as between the ship and port authority.
The Harbour Master plays a vital role in this system and increasingly may find him or herself taking on the role of an information manager at the interface between ship-and shore-based operations. With increasing frequency, ships can log onto port and terminal websites, feeding into electronic reporting systems, and may plan a port visit whilst still at sea.
Following a workshop at its 5th Congress in May 2006, IHMA embarked on a project to support Harbour Masters gathering reliable Port Entry Information and present it in a standardised format readily available to the mariner and other users. This format has been hosted on the IHMA website since July 2008. The marine industry responded to this initiative with great enthusiasm. This resulted in shipping and ports working together in an international taskforce to promote “Port Call Optimisation” by improving the quality and availability of master and event data.
This will deliver the following benefits to ports, shipping lines, service providers, and terminals:
Firstly, by improving the quality and availability of master data: e.g depths, admission policies. This will ensure vessel/berth compatibility and a clear understanding of when it’s safe to arrive or leave.
Secondly, by improving the quality and availability of event data: e.g planned time of arrival at the berth, estimated time of completion cargo operations. This will enable just-in-time planning of pilot on board, pre-planning of all port services and planning to the next port.
Both master data and event data use existing nautical and supply chain standards and formats suitable for shipping’s worldwide requirements.
Shipping, their agents and ports are sitting down together to discuss Port Call Optimisation, and to work on a solution that can work for every trade, for every port, from port to port and end to end. Shipping is accustomed to adapting itself to the individual port. When developing projects, shipping normally does this per trade (e.g. only for line or tramp shipping). Ports tend to develop projects for one port only, as they might be in competition with other ports.
The Standards for Nautical Port Information version 5.5 can be downloaded here.
The Port Information Guide template has been replaced by the document 'Standards for Nautical Port Information', section entitled 'General Port Information', pages 20 – 26.
The information is now more defined and structured, and duplicate entries have been removed.
For any questions on how to apply the standards please contact the IHMA Project Officer: Scherpenzeel.email@example.com, or call +31-10-252-1337
The Port Information Guide provides general information which applies to the entire port area. Information related to specific port sections (berths, fairways etc), can be captured via “Port Section Guides”. The format for these guides will be published in 2018.
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.
Join the world’s premier professional body for harbour masters and receive up-to-date information on the industry and access to the members' area of the website.