We've not heard much lately about the state of efficiency at US ports versus the rest of the world, which was highly publicized in the 2005-06 period, when many US ports, especially LA/Long Beach, encountered large back-ups during the peak season.
At the time, it was noted the world's most efficient ports were all in Asia.
Is that still the case? It seems so.
During a presentation this week at the Ports in the Future conference in Stockholm, Soren Jakobsen, an executive at APM Terminals, which operates some 65 port terminals worldwide, offered this slide showing the different productivity levels in crane movements per hour across a number of the company's operations that using the same basic crane equipment.
APM Terminals Crane Productivity by Location
Source: APM Terminals
As can be seen, there is a large variance from the best to the worst in terms of performance. Yokahoma in Japan has container moves averaging about 48 per hour per crane, which is nearly double the 25 or so moved at Port Elizabeth in New Jersey. APM terminals at the Port of LA and the Port of Houston are also near the bottom of the rankings.
Jakobsen made the point that productivity must be raised to meet the requirements for new megaships, which are carrying far more containers in about the same ship length, meaning you can't just throw more cranes at them.
If the approach doesn't change, Jakobsen said, it will take days longer to unload the megaships, meaning goods and ships are not moving.
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