Increasing the speed of cargo handling in a port terminal is supposed to be a priority of every port manager. As a government auditor who is determined to correct cargo-handling issues at a port, I would propose to the terminal manager to embrace several strategies to curb the problem in 90 days. The first factor to consider is the stowage plan, pre-shipment planning, and onboard stowage (Alderton 123). Pre-shipment planning is important because it is good for ship stowage and the disposition of cargo on the terminals. Stowage plans need to be flexible to some extent to avoid problems that are associated with last-minute changes. In addition, the speed of cargo handling should be increased (123). This can be been done by embracing innovation in the logistics and transportation industry to reduce expensive and unproductive moves of containers within the port termini. Cargos need to arrive at the port at the scheduled time to avoid jamming the port terminal. This can be necessitated by having in place a pricing policy and a well-organized calling forward route with shippers to deter early arrival.
Once cargo arrives at the port, policies should be put in place that compels the consignee to collect the cargo within the shortest time possible and failure to do so should be heavily fined. The port management should have a proper mechanism to speed up currency payments and documentation to prevent delays of cargo at the terminal. The latest technology, which employs the use of the computerized system with the efficient software package, can contribute immensely to the handling of containers at busy terminals. Alderton asserts that ships should not be overloaded, as this will increase draft, which is crucial for the movement of ships in and out of the port (124). To avoid such eventualities port personnel should be provided with necessary gadgets, calculators, information, and those who breach norms or policies concerning the same need to be punished accordingly to serve as an example to prevent similar occurrences in the future (124).
The development of mechanization in cargo handling is another strategy that can easily ease container handling at the port terminal. To achieve it, there should be increased mechanization and dock-building using the latest technology in the markets as this will save both money and time in handling cargo at the port (128). Bulk cargos can be handled in a continuous process whereby the cargoes are discharged using continuous unloaders like conveyor spirals or bucket conveyors (131). According to Alderton, warehousing technology to manage warehouse operations is very instrumental in cargo handling and be very effective in terms of speed (141). Important warehousing technology that a terminal manager could employ to boost warehouse efficiency includes retrieving devices, automatic retrieving and stacking devices, aisle automated movers, cargo locator systems, and deep shelf conveyors (141).
Another thing that I would recommend to the port manager is to look into the wages and salaries of the port personnel. The container terminals should not leave the employment of their employees to urgencies but should hire the employees themselves and also give them good remuneration. If this task is left to the agencies, they will hire the employees needed on a contractual basis and they will even deny them income and job security, which have a serious negative impact on the morale of the employees (Alderton 149). This will have an immense influence on the logistics operations, which is one of the contributing factors to the slow handling of cargo at the port terminals. It should be the responsibility of the port management team to hire the port personnel, pay them accordingly, and provide them with the job and income security, as this is likely to change the attitude of the workers and will work towards realizing the set objectives, which in this case is increasing the speed of cargo handling (Evans & Maloney 18). Besides, the employees should be given proper training to be able to deliver maximally, efficiently, and effectively in their area of jurisdiction since employee training in the modern world are a sound investment and a good idea indeed (Alderton 154).
Working hours is another important issue that the port management needs to put into consideration. To avoid cargo delays at the terminals, it is imperative to reconsider working hours. Container and bulk terminal ports should be operational 24 hours a day seven days a week (Alderton 150). It is also important for the port management to embrace suitable decision-making skills and be proactive to avert strikes as Alderton observes can have a devastating effect on cargo handling at a terminal (160). Ship catastrophes such as fire, mechanical failure, collision, and mechanical failure can also cause a delay in cargo handling. It is, therefore, necessary for the port manager to enforce policies that will ensure that all the ships docking at the port are in good condition and are well equipped to counter certain ship catastrophes. The weather may interfere with cargo handling in one way or another. For instance, fog and gales can either halt or reduce movement within a port. Gales may prevent the handling of cargoes at berths hence is a cause of stoppage at the terminals of tankers (Alderton 163). It is, therefore, the duty of the port manager to ensure that the weather forecast team is skilled enough to give accurate weather information instrumental in averting unnecessary delays or stoppage at the port terminals.
Planning of the operations at the port is very important in ensuring efficiency in the handling of the cargo (Evans & Maloney 5). Planning authorities and the management team of the port should make proper plans for the development of the port in advance to prevent interference with the traffic flow at the port. The management should also be in charge of the port management (Evans & Maloney 18). The management of the port should be empowered by the law and policies to execute their responsibility without external or political interference. Evens and Maloney affirm that there is also a need to have relevant skills and the management should hire skilled personnel who should be trained properly before assigning them to their work (6). The port manager should encourage healthy labor relations in the port. Without proper labor relations, little can be achieved because teamwork is very crucial in handling cargo (Alderton 165). In addition, the port manager should be a link between the port and the outside world by ensuring proper coordination and cooperation between different governmental and private organizations in the port (165). Alderton admits that there are several other issues that a port manager needs to consider to solve problems associated with cargo handling at the port. They include traffic, operations, maintenance, clearance documentation and procedures, dynamic effects, location, and function of the port (166).
Alderton, Patrick. Port Management and Operations. London: Informa publishers, 2008.
Evans, Amada & Maloney, Jade. Transport and logistics. Australia: Career FAQs, 2008.