APM Terminals (APMT) Elizabeth continues to struggle with cargo visibility across the supply chain.
This is a particular challenge as the Port of New York & New Jersey (NY & NJ) continues to see record container volumes.
APM Terminals’ Port Elizabeth facility handled some 1,777,000 TEU in 2020, and in April 2021 set its own record working three ships with 12 cranes simultaneously to manage supply chain flow in the New York & New Jersey area.
The Port posted double-digit increases in April 2021 compared to the year prior for total container volume, container imports, and set a new April record for rail volume.
Despite the continued growth in cargo volumes, visibility remains an issue.
“As to transparency, we still struggle with seeing all volumes on vessels with multiple partners and where it is destined on [the] import side. Rail is specifically an issue,” lamented APMT Elizabeth Managing Director Jon Poelma, during an in interview with PTI.
“Imagine cooking dinner for guests but not knowing how many would join or when they would join!” Poelma said.
APMT Elizabeth is leveraging its relationship with Tradelens to improve visibility along is carrier customer-base, as well as its recently-launched appointment system giving cargo-owners and truckers visibility of when goods are ready.
The appointment system means the port can now “properly prepare the yard” as well as order machines and place them accordingly. “We are in early innings of tweaking this system to squeeze more efficiencies,” Poelma said.
APMT Elizabeth is working on improving its ocean carrier front-end user experience to have “best in class usability” he added. This includes an API store, digital tools, leveraging Tradelens, and “being easy to do business with”.
“There are a lot of things we have in preparation, which we will be able to talk about in more detail shortly,” Poelma said.
Supply corridor shift
Both the significant digital and infrastructural investments in the Port of NY & NJ ports signify consistency and reliance for shippers suffering from delay in West Coast ports, Poelma said.
“Just look West for the answers East. How many ships are sitting in LA? Come to New Jersey, where we go direct from ship to rail where we don’t even see a day of dwell. Consistency is key,” he noted.
Poelma explained that there is little doubt that the strong market will continue for at least a handful of months. The strong market helps justify investment including $200 million to accommodate the new era of larger ships to the facility.
“Our investment has paid off in our focus to serve our customers,” Poelma argued.
“While we always compete in NY/NJ market, we are clearly looking to compete beyond that and induce freight from other points on the coast and maybe even the West Coast.
“Shippers should look at NY/NJ as an excellent gateway to the Midwest that offers smooth connections and reliable transits.
“With ships continuing to grow, we will look to larger cranes and improving yard layout to handle more freight. The strength of our technology must keep up with the strength of our workforce, which is second to none, fearless through Covid and fully aligned to be the best in the business.”