APM Terminals to standardise port equipment
APM Terminals is to standardise the container and cargo handling equipment used in its global port network of 50 terminals in 34 countries.
The AP Moller-Maersk subsidiary says that the strategy will result in improved economies of scale in consolidated orders to equipment manufacturers, and the simplification of training for equipment operators and other personnel.
APM Terminals" senior vice-president Peder Sondergaard said: ?Customers are looking for simplified, reliable and cost-effective service to compete in the market. Our terminal design, development and procurement must reflect this.?
The Netherlands-based operator said that streamlining of repairs and reduced investment in spare part inventories also represent significant opportunities for cost cutting in an increasingly competitive business environment.
APM Terminals head of procurement Morten Mortensen said: ?We will discuss practical requirements and establish standards with the functional experts such as terminal operations personnel, crane and engineering services, and design engineers.
?Then we will take this standard commercially to market and source, negotiate and contract with suppliers.?
APM Terminals is a major purchaser and operator of expensive and large-scale equipment, such as ship-to-shore cranes, rubber-tire gantry cranes, stackers, terminal tractors, reefer racks and terminal vehicles, as well as computer and communications equipment.
The company added that equipment standardisation was ?not yet in practice to any significant extent within the terminal operating industry?. Mr Mortensen added: ?Unfortunately, the level of innovation from terminal handling equipment suppliers is lower than we would expect.?
According to APM Terminals, the benefits of equipment standardisation include the ?easy transfer? of needed assets between facilities as circumstances require, and common standards for benchmarking of optimum yard design, lighting and equipment configurations.
?Equally important, the potential to reduce the environmental footprint through energy saving equipment is targeted. Adherence to the established standards will be the key factor in the programme"s success, particularly as new terminal development projects proceed.?
Mr Mortensen said that the process of narrowing its specification would lead to longer term contracts for suppliers.
He denied suggestions that standardisation could limit the creativity of cargo handling equipment designers in coming forward with new designs.
?In order not to limit ourselves from innovative new designs we do several workshops with these suppliers, prior to awarding typically two-year to three-year contracts. In general, we give the supplier base access to present new product and service proposals.?