Asian Ports Struggle in Mega-Ship Puzzle


Tim Wickmann, CEO of MCC Transport, a specialist line for AP Moller-Maersk, has said that the biggest risk that intra-Asian ports are currently up against is that their infrastructure is not enough to support the rise in volumes, which could be worsened by the doubling of container moves from feeder vessels that call at a number of different ports in the region, according to the Journal of Commerce.

It was recently claimed by the CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority, Jim Newsome, that a number of small US ports are at threat of losing competition to larger ports, if they cannot boost infrastructure. Infrastructure has thus become an issue for both the world’s largest and second largest economies.   

Tim Wickmann said of Asia: “The volumes haven’t been there this year, which is why there has not been much congestion, but port and infrastructure is the biggest worry.

“We are already seeing congestion for various reasons. Sometimes because the ports are full as it is, some have poor road systems, trucking issues or government measures, but if that is already happening now and we are still adding millions of moves to the ports every year, looking ahead it can be hard to serve the customers in the way they expect and are used to.”

Congestion issues were most prevalent along the US West Coast recently after a labour dispute caused a major shutdown of more than 20 ports.

Noel Hacegaba, CCO of the Port of Long Beach proposed various methods for conquering port congestion, including the innovative ‘Thinking Outside the Docks’ initiative.

Read a Technical Paper from Dr Hacegaba on how the US West Coast tackled congestion

Other methods such as vessel-stowage planning, port-and-shipping collaboration and data exchange offer some headway for ports to improve performance but the ultimate solution may present itself through information exchange across the entire supply chain, harnessed by the use of the Internet of Things.

Dr Yvo Saanen, Managing Director of simulation and emulation company TBA, believes that a healthy balance of information exchange between people, equipment and various cargo owners throughout the supply chain is one of the top three main ways to optimise port operations.

Watch: 3 Ways to Optimise your port’s operations

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