TOC Conference yields potential solutions to port capacity problems
The need to create more capacity out of existing port operations worldwide manifested itself in two promising suggestions on the first day of the Terminal Operators Conference Asia in Hong Kong Tuesday.
First, Peder Sondegaard, senior vice president and chief operating officer of APM Terminals, suggested that individual container terminals can't think of themselves independently anymore, and instead need to network with each to maximize efficiency.
'Shipping lines are focused on the total network,' Sondegaard said. 'Their efficiency is based on the sum of the efficiencies of the ports they use. But each terminal acts independently. Terminals need to act as a network, something that is unexplored.'
Later at the conference, Khawar Ahmad, vice president of operations for Emirates Shipping Line, said that countries need to focus on smaller secondary ports to alleviate congestion at major ports, and that shipping lines would do well to structure services that take advantage of capacity in these secondary ports.
'We should be shifting from developing more terminals in a few ports to more terminals in many ports,' said Ahmad. 'Clearly, the best solution is looking at underutilized ports.'
Ahmad said regulations and incentives have to be reformed to induce services that use the shortest, most unobstructed routes to market, particularly those that use inland connections with excess capacity.