«Break Bulk Shipping Study TABLE OF CONTENTS List of tables List of Figures Executive Summary 1 BREAK BULK CARGO 1.1 Definition 1.2 Types of Break ...»
BlueScope Steel Berth 109-110 Berths 109-113 are owned and managed by BlueScope Steel which is mainly used for supporting steel manufacturing. Only Berths 109 and 110 are break bulk berths used for handling steel exports such as steel slabs, hot-rolled coils and steel plates, stevedored by Tolls and Patricks. Berth 110 is mainly used for Ro-Ro vessels while Berth 109 is for conventional steel cargoes. Overflow BlueScope steel exports can be loaded at AAT berths. It is possible to load and discharge other than BlueScope cargoes at Berth 109, but the operations of transiting cargo from/to BlueScope berths encounter various difficulties. Thus, overflow cargoes are more likely to utilise other break bulk berths rather than BlueScope Steel Berths 109-110.
Port Kembla Gateway (No. 6 Jetty)
The Gateway consists of Berths 202-205 and is a finger/jetty structure operated as a private facility with a total length of 360 metres. Due to the depth constraints, only the outer eastern proportion of 215 metres at a depth alongside of 9-10 metres is using for berthing vessels. With a width of 30 metres, this jetty is used for handling bulk cargo e.g. sulphuric acid and copper concentrate, and is also used as an overflow facility for break bulk cargoes especially for project cargoes and heavy lifts. For example steel pipes to be used for the Sydney desalination plant were discharged here in 2008.
Because it is primarily a bulk terminal, the availability of break bulk facilities is limited; there is no general cargo shed adjacent to this facility. The shore crane at the Port Kembla Gateway is outdated and not really useful. Consequently, break bulk cargoes rely heavily on ship’s gear for discharge direct-to-truck. Other constraints that impede break bulk vessel operations at this facility include the pavement weight loading limit restriction and the weighbridge located at the east end of the jetty that hinders project cargo movement operations. The size of the weighbridge makes it difficult for trucks carrying special shape project cargoes to pass through the weighbridge.
Because part of the Outer Harbour is open to the sea, in certain weather conditions a surge occurs in the harbour at a maximum of about 10-12 days a year. It was commented that the surge problem inconveniences vessel operations especially when handling heavy lifts and project cargoes. PKPC argued that there will be little impact on break bulk cargoes. Although the surge problem does not count as a serious problem, PKPC is modelling the effect of the problems caused by the surge in the effort to better manage these situations.
Grain Terminal Berth 104 Grain Berth 104 is adjacent to AAT Terminal in the Inner Harbour. This berth can be temporarily used for overflow break bulk cargoes, but the cargoes have to be removed immediately from the berths because of the absence of storage areas.
Major shipping lines reported that the stevedoring service quality varies from port to port. The primary elements they are concerned with about stevedoring services are labour availability and labour skills. Unlike the stevedoring services at Brisbane, none of the interviewed shipping lines had significant complaints about the stevedoring services in Port Kembla.
POAG services are used as an example to ensure consistency in companies stevedoring services between different ports. At Port Kembla POAG mainly provide stevedoring services for vessels such as PCCs, PCTCs, RoRo and multipurpose vessels. Principal cargoes handled by POAG are steel products, timber products, machinery, water craft, project cargoes (e.g. wind turbines) and bulk cargo (e.g. grain). The largest general cargo commodity handled by POAG are steel products. POAG stevedores at all break bulk berths at Port Kembla. Besides break bulk operations, POAG also provide exclusive bulk handling service for its contracted client AWB at Grain Terminal Berth 104.
The number of POAG’s stevedores at Port Kembla is 130 of which 30-40 are permanent while others are casual employees. In order to maintain service quality, POAG offers training courses to new recruited employees. In the first week, an induction courses covers both theoretical and practical sections. Continuous on-the-job training is provided afterwards. Since the training fees for some cargo handling equipment are expensive, only a proportion of stevedores will be trained. Thus, it is not easy to optimise the right proportion of stevedores who will be given this kind of training. In addition to in-house training, POAG take advantage of training courses offered by WWL. WWL’s training courses provide on site training courses which allow stevedores to understand WWL’s unique types of ships and to experience different kinds of machinery. POAG also operate harbour cranes and ship gear in most circumstances. Occasionally, some shipping lines will insist on using their own crew to operate ship’s gear. In order to preserve proficient harbour crane handling skills, POAG do prefer the shipping companies to choose harbour cranes rather than ship’s gear which will give them the opportunities to practice their skills. POAG is only responsible for discharging and loading general cargoes while the delivery and receiving process are AAT’s responsibility.
In addition, POAG stated that a number of challenges might hinder the efficiency of
stevedoring operation as follows:
Achieving productivity while ensuring the safe, damage free and on time delivery of cargoes;
To handle cargo penetration such as cargo stacking, cargo stows and to access these cargoes safely;
To provide high standard cargo care especially for those cargoes require special handling instructions, procedures, handling methods and/or training;
To deal with cargo damage that is not caused by stevedoring.
42 Road/Rail Connection
Both road and rail access is available at Port Kembla however, road transport is used for the majority of inland freight transportation. The importance of the connection between industrial zones and the seaport provided by efficient, reliable and cost-effective road and rail transport have been recognised by all parties including shipping companies, port authorities, importers/exporters and trucking companies. In general, the connection is identified as adequate at Port Kembla. One member stated that road and rail connections at Port Kembla provide a more direct access to the final cargo destination than Newcastle. Moreover, PKPC plans to install a 1.2 km train connection to Berth 105 and a 2×800 metres rail extension to offer better option for access to/from the port via rail.
Despite the overall advantages of rail and road connections, some points regarding the deficiencies of these connections have been made by shipping lines. In particular, the rail access to berths is not operated on a daily basis which might impede rail transport in maximising its capability. It was indicated that daily rail access is preferred because of future increased cargo volume expected from Europe and the USA. Problems also exist with the road connection caused by occasional congestion at the entrance of the main road due to limited road width. Trucks with long or heavy loads need to drive over a roundabout outside Port Kembla port areas. This road transportation hazard might prove to be a significant disadvantage for Port Kembla in the future.
Port Services Tug services were generally described as adequate but the pilotage service did present some problems. Regarding the tug service, more tugs could be based in Port Kembla in the future which will increase the total number of tugs from 4 to 6.
Pilotage services have been described as inadequate. A member indicated that the availability of pilots does lead to port congestion and vessel delay. For example, if another vessel receives berthing priority in preference to their vessel, it is not only delayed in berthing, it can also be delayed further through lack of a pilot. If the pilot’s maximum duty hours have been reached the ship must wait until the next pilot is available.
Some lines also stated that pilots in Port Kembla are often cautious about ordering extra tugs where at most times only one is required. A ship’s captain remarked to one line that they are very experienced in manoeuvring their new advanced multipurpose vessels, which have bow and stern thrusters, in a confined space. Thus, one standby tug would be sufficient in other than very difficult weather conditions.
In contrast, PKPC believed that sufficient skilled pilots (6 pilots) are provided at Port Kembla. It was also stated that the old pilot usage system could be changed to encourage a more cost effective way of using pilots. Furthermore, regarding the excessive requests of tugs by pilots, it was argued that the decision of tug usage was made only a few hours in advance and thus the excessive order of tugs is not easy to avoid despite port policy covering tug usage. Although the final number of tugs needed is up to pilot’s discretion, the decision finally depends on the weather conditions and the number of ship bow/stern thrusters.
Port charges at Port Kembla can be classified into four categories which are a port authority charge, port services charge, terminal operator charge and stevedore charge.
Regarding the terminal operator charge, shipping lines stated that the terminal charge for ships using the Port Kembla Gateway berth is reasonable while the charge at the AAT Terminal is excessive particularly the facility access fee which despite the economic recession AAT have increased substantially. According to one line the crane hire cost at the AAT Terminal is about A$8,000 to A$10,000 which is 3-4 times that of similar equipment in Southampton.
PKPC stated that the efficient provision of services has always been the concern of PKPC to ensure neither over servicing of port facilities nor over capitalising of port funds and this has resulted in adequate port authority charges. The port authority indicated that the port authority charges are reasonable and have not increased since
1995. However, shipping lines such as WWL argued that the navigation service charge levied by PKPC is expensive.
7.2.3 Future Vision With the completion of Inner Harbour facilities upgrade, the construction of new facilities in the Outer Harbour is planned and will continue into the future. Approaches made by the Port of Shenzhen and COSCO Shipping regarding investment in the port could enlarge general cargo handling capacity and introduce a container cargo handling capability in the Outer Harbour. PKPC is planning to build three general and bulk berths and four container berths at Outer Harbour.
The projected new general and bulk berth is expected to be opened in 2012-2013.
PKPC do not plan to lease the new berths at Outer Harbour to AAT which will give break bulk operators more options to discharge and load cargoes and also provide additional flexibility of berth usage. However, PKPC considered that the new berths will probably be heavily used by bulk commodities. Thus, the port authority does not plan to build cargo storage sheds unless the trade volumes justify it.
ITI, a timber importer, is looking for a strategic partner to build a new facility at Port Kembla in late 2009 to provide cost benefits for its timber imports. The transportation cost of ITI’s timber imports will be reduced by avoiding duplicate routes as they want to truck some imports to the South Coast and the ACT. Once the new facility is built, ITI is willing to maximize usage of the facility by bringing in more and more timber as break bulk cargo which might lead to growth in the break bulk trade in the future.
7.2.4 Possible Improvements Port Kembla is a relatively newly upgraded port with generally adequate facilities for handling break bulk cargoes. PKPC is considered to be a forward looking port authority that has planned solutions for the deficiencies mentioned above e.g. the availability of berths. However, suggestions were made on how to develop Port Kembla as a better node for transportation of break bulk cargo; namely, improvements to rail and road 44 connections to avoid congestion in the future, allocation of new sheds in the Outer Harbour development plan, strengthening of the deck at Berth 105-106 and a possible rearrangement of the pilotage service.