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Kaohsiung tackles bulk handling efficiencies

The Port of Kaohsiung has declared that plans are moving forward to raise bulk cargo handling efficiencies at its public cargo wharves.

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Working to increase cargo throughput capabilities and to speed cargoes on to their next destination, Taiwan International Port Corporation’s (TIPC) Port of Kaohsiung subsidiary has been canvassing related firms for ideas on how to optimise bulk cargo handling procedures at the port.


The Port of Kaohsiung said that their collective input has been organised into a formal proposal, which is expected to be finalised and announced as a new standard protocol following review and confirmation by stevedore service providers.


Since privatising wharf operations in 1998, the port has allowed any qualified company to compete for all aspects of the cargo handling process. The result has been that one contract is often split amongst multiple subcontractors, which sometimes leads to vessels and cargoes spending more time than necessary waiting in port for stevedoring services.


Furthermore, recent changes in local labour regulations have further increased the difficulties of targeting sufficient resources on moving cargoes at maximum efficiency.


Thus, fewer stevedoring company staff are now available to make full and effective use of the port’s second shift, which has further significantly impacted operating efficiencies, according to TIPC. Overseas shipowners have noted and taken exception to the increasing holdover times for their cargo ships in port. The slower turnaround times for bulk cargoes have also exacerbated wharf scheduling and turnover problems.


The Port of Kaohsiung stated that, in an effort to streamline and improve bulk cargo handling procedures, it convened a series of meetings with cargo owners, the Taiwan Steel and Iron Industries Association, the stevedoring industry, and the national cargo transportation association, to discuss an effective path to resolution.


However, the port said that the results fell short of expectations due to the intricate and intertwined issues involved. It was determined that the roots of the related issues must be addressed in order to reach an effective and satisfactory solution.


Thus, in July (2018), the Port of Kaohsiung met with the Customs Administration’s Kaohsiung Customs office, Maritime and Port Bureau’s Southern Office, Kaohsiung Shipping Agencies Association, Kaohsiung City International Shipowners Association, stevedoring companies, and steel and iron trading firms, to hammer out a feasible new cargo handling framework for the port and to draft the “Port of Kaohsiung Standard Practice in Response to Failures to Achieve Bulk-Cargo Handling Targets at Public Wharves (draft)”, in hopes of effectively raising bulk cargo throughput and handling efficiencies.


The draft proposal mandates that, when a ship docks for loading/offloading operations, the contracted service provider will fill out and submit the “Port of Kaohsiung Public Wharf Bulk-Cargo Loading/Offloading Pre-Operation Approval Form”, together with relevant vessel documentation, to the onsite management authority for approval.


Concurrently, a stevedoring operations timetable will be set for the operation, with related penalties set for failure to meet stated goals. In the event that stevedoring operations infringe national laws, the case will be referred to the Maritime and Port Bureau (Southern Office). Furthermore, in the event that delays involve cargo owner or cargo transport issues, vessel schedules may be readjusted or compulsory warehousing may be directed.


In order to ensure that the current draft proposal will be effectively and beneficially implemented, the Port of Kaohsiung has, from 14 August, proactively called on stevedoring service providers to explain the new standard practice rules and to gather opinions and comments. It said that the latter will be discussed and considered when finalising the standard practice rules, and setting the date for implementation.


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