Wim Lagaay, the President and CEO of APM Terminals North America, cited existing and emerging challenges, and necessary solutions to container terminal operations, at the annual JOC Port Performance North America Conference.
Presenting the conference keynote address on December 10th, within sight of the ongoing operations at APM Terminals Elizabeth facility, one of the largest and busiest container terminals at the Port of NY & NJ, Mr. Lagaay outlined issues including safety, sustainability, data exchange and trucker access affecting terminal operations.
These factors have become increasingly urgent with the surges in truck traffic and container volumes brought about by the steady increases in container vessel size.
Closer coordination between terminal operators, truckers, and other stakeholders in the global logistics chain was cited as a crucial factor in the future success and financial viability of businesses associated with the terminal operating industry.
“All participants must work in a seamless interaction which requires a sharing mindset” stated Mr. Lagaay, who also noted that “Trucking shortages and sustainability compliance requirements are seriously driving up the cost of this mode of the supply chain – and we need terminals to take a stake in the process to do their part to enhance the truckers’ user experience.”
Improvements for Truckers
Improved gate access for truckers, including appointment systems, updated computer/smart phone applications and metrics (like those used by the Harbor Trucker Association of LA/LGB) are already making a difference in truck turnaround times at container facilities in North America. Modernization of terminal operations is also resulting in greater efficiency and improved safety. At APM Terminals Pier 400 Los Angeles, the world’s largest proprietary container terminal, some of these enhancements are already underway.
“Using semi-automated straddle carriers will completely change the truck in the container yard challenge”, stated Lagaay, adding “The truck will stay in a protected, safe space in the container yard perimeter, and the straddle carrier will bring the container to the truck; this is a safer and faster process. It addresses hours of operations challenges, and makes the container yard more efficient, simpler and much, much safer.”
In the New York/New Jersey market, APM Terminals Elizabeth is completing a USD 200 million infrastructure investment and terminal upgrade program which will introduce a new trucker gate and appointment system by the end of the first quarter of 2020 to serve future growth and supply chain velocity.