SUNBIZ

Ports Terminal’s Swift Handling Of Congestion

There was obvious congestion in the Port of Suva the past week with 13 vessels arriving from October 27 to November 2. However, efficient action by the Ports Terminal Limited
05 Nov 2014 09:36
Ports Terminal’s Swift Handling Of Congestion

There was obvious congestion in the Port of Suva the past week with 13 vessels arriving from October 27 to November 2.

However, efficient action by the Ports Terminal Limited team took control of the situation and ensured things did not get out of hand.

Ports Terminal chief operating officer, Hasthika Bandara Dela, confirmed they had not faced such port congestion for the past 10 months.

He attributed it to a result of bunching up of the vessels.

Perhaps, he said, it could have been because of Christmas with a lot of people bringing goods and/or could have been a delay in other ports.

“If you look at the previous week, for almost six days, we did not have any vessels and the port was totally free,” he said.

“But due to some reason, there were 13 ships which arrived in the short period of October 27 and November 2.”

Mr Dela said with the limited facility they have, especially the berth land, they can accommodate only two vessels or maximum, three vessels if they are smaller.

“But then that is also governed by the move count that the vessel brings in – discharging and loading,” he said.

During the seven days, Mr Dela confirmed they handled 3861 container moves, including break bulk and vehicles.

“So per day, we have handled 551 moves per day and then we were also receiving (consignment for export) and delivery (consignee) which this 551 moves does not include,” he said.

This indeed was a big achievement given that a year ago, Fiji Ports was only doing 250 container moves per day.

Yard congestions

Mr Dela said the port container yard was severely congested as well because whatever containers they had cleared from these vessels, were not cleared by the consignees.

He said the consignees are given three days to clear the container.

“But maybe about 70 per cent of the consignees wait till the last day to clear their containers,” he said.

“So it causes backlog and congestion. So if someone discharges 100 containers, we expect the containers to be cleared before the next lot comes in.”

Solution to situation

Mr Dela said the situation with a lot of ships coming all at the same time was beyond their control.

“We can’t tell the ships not to arrive but only thing we can do is we send them a monthly schedule so they understand the monthly patterns,” he said.

“But we can’t tell the shipping lines you can’t come on this day because the port is going to be congested.

“So basically these are beyond our control but we can do is we can be prepared. We can request the consignees to clear these containers as soon as they come.”

Overall performance

Generally, Mr Dela said our ports have been doing very well.

“We are handling 25 to 27 vessels per month on average,” he said.

Association thoughts

Meanwhile, Fiji Ship Owners Agency Association chairman, Craig Strong, agreed it was a busy week at the Port of Suva which resulted in significant congestion.

“There were delays in ships being able to berth in addition to this receiving of exports was suspended at the wharf for one whole working day,” he said.

“On Thursday at 5pm all receiving of exports was suspended at the Port until 12pm Friday. Due to continuing congestion this was further suspended until 6pm Friday,” he said.

He said there are ways in which the association and the Ports Terminal Limited are working to address such issues.

 

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