It was a very stressful day (and night). Haifa Port was about to go live in all its terminals with its new Terminal Operation System – the Navis SPARCS N4. The latest version was only implemented in a select few terminals around the world and its implementation in Israel was a huge leap for the port and the Israeli maritime community. However, there was a small problem: Ashdod Port, the other major port in Israel, was witnessing a severe strike and all of the incoming Israeli cargo was diverted to Haifa. The expert teams at Haifa and Navis had prepared themselves for everything, but never for such a challenging situation. The stakes were high and the pressure could be felt in each room inside the container operations building. Yet, the preparations and the skilled personnel took the calculated risk and proved themselves in a successful go-live implementation. This day is why the go-live Navis system became legendary in the Israeli maritime community. The fact that, in spite of all the difficulties, this huge operation was a perfect success remains a proud achievement at the port. A lot has happened since the TOS implementation. Constant improvements which allowed Haifa Port to maintain its efficiency leadership in Israel have come to pass, the port has also been recognised by the OECD which ranked Haifa fourth for container performance efficiency in a study covering the world’s top 100 ports. Yet the biggest recent development has been Haifa Port’s competition with Ashdod Port, which increased in intensity in 2005 after Ashdod utilised a new TOS (not a Navis model) and their productivity dramatically increased. In response to the developments at Ashdod, the executive team at Haifa fought back with a plan that relied on two key elements: the new Carmel Terminal, and the new Navis TOS.
The Carmel Terminal is Israel's largest, most advanced and environmentally friendly container terminal. It is a key part of Haifa's vision in positioning the port on equal footing with the world's most advanced ports and terminals. The modern terminal consists of 950 metres of quays with a 15.8 metre draft and was inaugurated in 2010, becoming fully operational the following year. It now has the potential to handle over one million TEU annually. This capacity increase has allowed the port to provide a rapid, efficient service that has dramatically cut the waitingtime for container ships arriving at the port. Fast container handling speeds are made possible by the 15.8 metre draft which stretches across the terminal’s entire length. Therefore, container ships with a width of up to 19 containers across are able to dock at the port. Added to this is the advanced infrastructure and crane equipment, which includes six super-post- Panamax STS gantry cranes. The new gantry cranes, which are capable of lifting two containers simultaneously, have also allowed Haifa Port to significantly increase its output, whilst the storage yard is served by 12 state-of-the-art RMGs.