Maritime transport sector
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Maritime Transport Sector. Infrastructure Imperatives June 2006, CSME . Roland Malins-Smith. Dominant influence on infrastructure has been containerization. Origins of containerization – trucker Malcolm McLean, 1956 Precipitated globalization by reducing the cost of maritime transport

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Maritime Transport Sector

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Maritime Transport Sector

Infrastructure Imperatives

June 2006, CSME

Roland Malins-Smith


Dominant influence on infrastructure has been containerization

  • Origins of containerization – trucker Malcolm McLean, 1956

  • Precipitated globalization by reducing the cost of maritime transport

  • Simple, effective way of moving goods which protects them, speeds up handling, permits inter-modal exchange, permits economies of scale with ships, speeds up delivery time, reduces inventories and costs

  • The end game – dramatically increase port productivity


Impact of containerization

  • Introduced a new class of vessels – the container ship

  • Introduced new handling methods & organization at ports

  • Dictates changes in port layout

  • Requires investment in specialized port equipment

  • Increases labor productivity, leads to reduction in work force

    Today we take containerization for granted, but it has been quite a change for the Caribbean, and the adjustment of our port infrastructure is an ongoing exercise


Caribbean network of mainline and feeder services developing

  • Larger ships being used from Far East, Europe

  • Smaller ships moving containers from:

    • Florida

    • Kingston Jamaica

    • Manzanillo Panama

    • Cartagena Colombia

    • Freeport Bahamas

    • Caucedo Dominican Republic

    • And secondary transshipment points such as

      • San Juan, St Croix, Point Lisas, Port of Spain, Vieux Fort


Transshipment is major business for ports such as Kingston

  • Will move over 2.2 million teus in 2006

  • Now investing US$250 million to grow to 3.2 million within 4 years

  • Expects to have 2,100 ship calls this year

  • Building another 475 meters of berth and additional 161 acres of container terminal space


For Transshipment ports, success requires high productivity and low unit costs, achieved with:

  • Measured investment in berths and terminal storage areas

  • Container gantry cranes, RTGs, straddle carriers, container stackers, yard trucks and chassis

  • Effective and experienced management

  • Industry specific software

  • Motivated work force, stable labor environment.

    Objective: Rates of 25-35 moves per gang hour


State of port infrastructure in CSME a mixed bag – difficult to generalize

  • Some ports such as Kingston have spent considerable sums, making rapid progress

  • Most Caribbean ports have modest programs for acquiring / using container handling equipment

  • Some are in urgent need of berth renovation and expansion, dredging and terminal construction – Paramaribo and Georgetown

    Given state of infrastructure, fair to say that port productivity can be improved with further investment and with pro-active management of existing facilities


From operator’s standpoint, infrastructure issues:

  • Berthing competition between cruise and container ships

  • Where volume warrants, investment in cranes can intensify use of existing facilities

  • Insufficiency of “moving” equipment between ship and storage area

  • Preventive maintenance programs preserve equipment

  • Communications equipment sometimes lacking

  • Organization of container storage areas and pre-staging to increase productivity

  • Use of available software

  • Rationalization of working hours, gang size, charges

  • Container turn time, demurrage, storage regimes

  • Training to avoid poor handling methods, improve safety

  • Container truck scales increasingly useful

    Effective and experienced management the key element


Ships and services – no shortage of opportunities for CSME

  • As a by-product of containerization, comprehensive regional network of services exists

  • Most if not all ports linked with day of the week sailings

  • Over 15 container shipping lines offer regular services

  • 6 actively canvass intra-regional business

    • Tropical Shipping – www.Tropical.com

    • Bernuth Marine – www.Bernuth.com

    • Seaboard Marine – www.Seaboardmarine.com

    • Crowley Liner Services – www.Crowley.com

    • CMA/CGM – www.cma.cgm.com

    • Seafreight Line – www.seafreightagencies.com

      Current schedules can be found on the websites. CSME exporters who generate container size shipments are familiar with these services


Some issues remain

  • Handling cost, a function of productivity, remain relatively high, for reasons already given

  • Minimum costs and charges associated with container activity make LCL shipments very expensive

  • For primary products, refrigerated services usually come in 40’ container sizes

  • Knowledge of existing services and opportunities could be improved


Thank you !


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