Speaking of port productivity … (A repeat of Three-part Harmony, Vol. VIII, Art. 36)
Let’s stay with the question of port productivity. Tony Seideman says that, “ … the amount of misinformation about what makes ports both efficient and inefficient is so great that the most effective way to plan productivity is to focus on busting some very tenacious myths …
“Productivity is about getting containers off ships quickly”, is the conventional thinking. “But the act of taking a container off a ship is just a first step”, Mr. Seideman counters. He cites three measures in all: “… at the vessel, moves per crane hour; at the yard, moves per piece of lift equipment; and at the gate and in the yard, truck turn time.”
Those three measures provide us with the opportunity to compare operations in conventionally-structured terminals to our patented system of storage, retrieval and delivery. It’s a no-brainer.
1. “ … at the vessel, moves per crane hour …” Our system will likely have a positive effect on this phase of port production. Our unimpeded system of racking instead of stacking will eliminate dockside delays and allow more time and space for offloading operations.
2. “ … at the yard, moves per piece of lift equipment …” Our patented system will have an even more dramatic effect in this area of port productivity. Current, primitive operations involve “moves per piece of lift equipment”. Expensive reach trucks, along with gantry crane-type straddle carriers and stacking cranes used in time-consuming top-lifting operations, present ongoing problems in terminals. These costly and cumbersome stacking vehicles, however, would not be employed when our system eventually takes over the storage, retrieval and delivery of intermodal containers. Instead of wasting valuable assets, our simple and efficient operations create time, money and space in beleaguered container terminals.
[If you walked into any warehouse and suggested to management that goods should be stacked one atop the other, rather than in accessible racking spaces, you’d be laughed at. No sane logistician or warehousing manager would even think of stacking goods. Where performance counts and where jobs are at stake, that outmoded and primitive stacking concept is unthinkable. Not so, however, with terminal operators. Jobs are not at risk, lack-luster performance is unquestioned, accountability is unheard of, and supply chain problems are exacerbated as a result.]
3. “ … and at the gate and in the yard, truck turn time.” This is gradually becoming the most urgent of all supply chain issues because this vital phase involves human beings as well as machines. Remember Mr. Belzer’s warnings back in 2006? “Low wages, long hours, piece work and unsafe working conditions. You have working conditions that I believe can be characterized as sweatshops … If the problem is not resolved soon, you won’t have to worry about gridlock because there won’t be any trucks on the road … I cannot comprehend why people don’t respond to this as a national crisis”.
[Well, we’ll respond. Our system will hire, and pay generously, every driver. Anyone listening?]