How to raise the bar in port operation efficiency and productivity

In the ever-evolving world of maritime logistics, optimising the efficiency and productivity of port operations is essential for staying competitive. With global supply chains becoming increasingly complex, port operators are under pressure to improve efficiency, productivity, and safety.

Lenny Naidoo, acting National Operations Manager at Heavy Lift, a division of CFAO Equipment SA, says the solution to meeting these requirements lies in harnessing the potential of innovative and advanced technologies from reputable global manufacturers.

“At Heavy Lift, we specialise in the sale of heavy-duty forklifts tailored for container handling in port operations. As an industry leader in material handling and industrial equipment, we know all too well the challenges facing our customers, and that is why we remain committed to providing them with optimal technological solutions to streamline their operations and ensure maximum efficiency and productivity.”

While fully autonomous machinery may still be on the horizon, current technological advancements, such as those offered by Konecranes and Terberg, are revolutionising port operations.

To this end, predictive maintenance has become indispensable in reducing downtime and enhancing operational efficiency. Here, advanced monitoring systems track machinery usage in real time and predict when maintenance is required based on operating hours. This allows for precise planning and ensures that machinery is serviced before issues arise - maintaining peak performance and minimising disruptions.

“Transparency and accountability are also key to driving productivity,” adds Naidoo. “Features such as Konecranes’ CheckApp system and Terberg Connect platform enable drivers to perform daily checks on their equipment via smartphones or tablets, where they can log issues, and upload pictures or videos. This real-time information is accessible to supervisors and managers, streamlining maintenance processes and ensuring swift responses. By eliminating delays associated with paper documentation, the system keeps everyone informed and responsible.”

Data analytics and real-time insights are becoming indispensable in various operational metrics. The MD4 display in the cabins of Konecranes equipment offers drivers critical information on performance, including the number of boxes lifted, fuel consumed, idling times, and speed. This data empowers operators to make informed decisions, therefore greatly improving overall productivity and efficiency,

Safety is a core component of Heavy Lift’s mandate, and its equipment solutions have an array of features to meet this commitment. This includes electronic scales to prevent overloading by displaying cargo weight, as well as geofencing technology that sets speed limits in specific areas and cautions drivers to slow down. Additionally, tyre pressure monitoring systems ensure optimal tyre pressure, which greatly reduces wear and tear, and ultimately, saves additional costs.

“The real-time data provided can also help in identifying port congestion and bottlenecks, allowing for greater planning and resource allocation. In doing so, this not only reduces congestion but speeds up operations and productivity,” explains Naidoo.

With training and development being critical components to driving safety, efficiency and productivity in all material handling operations, Konecranes provides online training modules for both technical staff and equipment operators. These modules ensure employees are up-to-date with the latest practices and technologies, creating a well-informed workforce capable of operating machinery safely and efficiently.

"The integration of advanced technologies in port operations is not just enhancing efficiency and safety, but also contributing to significant cost savings. By embracing predictive maintenance, transparency, continuous training, and data analytics, ports are setting new standards in their operations. These innovations ensure that port operations are more efficient, productive and safe - meeting the ever-evolving demands of the global supply chain,” concludes Naidoo.